Rustic Tuscany

~ Rustic Tuscany goes down the rabbit hole and into the depths of the cellars at Argiano ~

After breaking in the Squadra on Day 2, Rustic Tuscany Day 3 was going to be a busy day.  But oh to be busy like this!  Our AOB went smoothly and we piled into the Mercedes vans for the first stop of the morning;  Il Palazzone.   After the resignation of Laura Gray I was looking forward to meeting the new General Manager, Tullia.  She proved to be a gracious and engaging host.

Il Palazzone is small, very small.  The makeshift tasting room sits in an insulated fermentation area, a sort of anteroom to the adjacent barrel aging cellar.  We arrived in time to enjoy “Brunello for Breakfast”.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The Tasting arranged for us at Il Palazzone was of the three most recently bottled Brunello ~

Rustic Tuscany

~ The aging cellar at Il Palazzone is small, with various size barrels. Toward the back is the historical library cove ~

We got started with the 2018 that was not yet released at the time.

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino 2018– This was just bottled on June 1.  Clear, light to medium ruby. Floral notes and sweet crushed berry galore on the nose. Hints of soft spice too. Very aromatic.  Elegant on the palate.  Medium bodied with strawberry and cranberry fruits comprising the flavors. Drying tannins need to resolve. 87-90 points.

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino 2017–  Medium ruby in color and slightly darker than the 2018. Richer fruit aromas like black cherry and morello. Displays hints of tobacco and soft sandalwood tones.  Dried herbs & red berries on the palate with more substantial tannins that are a bit astringent/stemmy.  Savory. Hints of green olive too.  88-90 points.  Bottled 6/15/21.

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Le Due Porte 2016- Medium ruby. Vibrant aromas of berry, fresh flowers, and sweet pipe tobacco. Really attractive to smell.  540 meters above sea level, this comes from the vineyard right outside the winery.  Medium bodied at most with wild berry, dried herb character with hints of sandalwood.  This is high toned and racy. Austere and savory.  Bottled 6/16/21, the same day as the 2017 but after one additional year in wood.  Needs 5+ years to round out.  88-91 points.

Find Il Palazzone wines.

Il Palazzone

~ The tasting lineup at Il Palazzone. The Rosso was only used to rinse the glasses prior to the tasting ~

Rustic Tuscany

~ Looking down the vine rows of the Le Due Porte vineyard. The Castello visible off in the distance is Romitorio ~

The style at Il Palazzone has been evolving a bit.  Older vintages (2010, 2012 and 2010 Riserva) seem to be more masculine than recent releases. The hallmark elegance was and is there, but the wines are seemingly produced now in a more feminine, Burgundian style.  Recent vintages have presented challenges that likely impacted the resulting wines.  However, it’s a trend that bears watching.

After saying our goodbyes and grabbing some olio, we were off to our next stop;  Argiano.

Rustic Tuscany

~ Before entering the winery, we were given a virtual tour of the estate ~

Argiano was sold to a group of Brazilian investors back in 2013.  They immediately set about revitalizing the venerable estate.  They replanted vineyards, refurbished the Villa, built a new reception area and modernized the cellars and aging caves. The results are impressive.  The wines are impressive. Unfortunately, the prices are equally impressive.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The cellars of the estate have been completely rebuilt and serve to hold not only Argiano’s wines but also the personal collection of the owner ~

~ The Argiano cellars are vast and impressive ~

After the virtual greeting, the tour of the estate, winery and cellars – we settled in a reception area deep under the winery for a tasting.  The room was gorgeous, but not conducive to holding a discussion. There were other groups tasting in addition to ours and the echo in the chamber was significant. It was difficult to hear.  All that aside, the tasting was impressive.

Argiano Rosso di Montalcino 2020: Medium ruby. Incredibly floral. Lavender, violets and crushed cherry are very expressive. Just gorgeous on the palate. Fresh, juicy with black cherry, sweet fennel, tobacco and spices. This is an amazing effort in Rosso. Concentrated and fresh.  This wine was so amazing we ordered several bottles that day during lunch!  95 points.  Find this wine.

Argiano Brunello 2017:  Slightly darker ruby than the Rosso. Brightly floral with tobacco and sage aromas to the cherry fruit. Well structured with broad shouldered red cherry flavors. Concentrated and rich. Long, warming finish. 14.5%  93 points.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The Argiano grounds are manicured impeccably. The estate played host to the TV Show “Succession” ~

Argiano Brunello Riserva 2012: Deep ruby to garnet. Very complex aromas. Meaty, leathery, crushed cherry, dried spices, earthy/mushroom. Then comes fennel and smoke. Full bodied in the mouth. Loads of cherry fruit. Fennel, tobacco, gamey meat with a long sotto bosco finish. It’s outstanding and so complex.  97 point.

Argiano Solengo 2020: Deep violet to almost black in the glass. Almost a barrel tasting as it was just bottled in August.  Black fruits, with mint, hint of vanilla and green pepper. Rich body, with elegance and wonderful toasted oak. Slightly shy but still such a baby. Seamlessly integrated tannins. This is round and seductive.  94-97 points.  Find this wine.

Argiano Solengo 2011: Dark, dark ruby. Autumn leaves, earth and leather in the nose. Rich, ripe fruit that’s elegantly presented. Smooth black plum fruit with hints of smoke and spice. Hints of smoked meats, tart fruit and juicy sapidity. Still very tannic. 92-95 points.

~ The Argiano Riserva was among the top wines we enjoyed during the entire Tour. I was ready to buy several bottles, but the bugaboo of the “new” Argiano prevented that. I think it was $175 per bottle. ~

With this tasting in the books, it was off to lunch at the amazing Boccon di Vino where we enjoyed a few bottles of the Argiano Rosso but also the Casanova di Neri Brunello and the Cipresso Brunello from magnum.

~ Roberto Cipresso is the former winemaker at La Fiorita and now runs an Agriturismo in addition to making his own Brunello ~

Stayed tuned as I continue to chronicle!



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