Argiano’s history dates back to 1580, when the Pecci family of Siena began the construction of a magnificent villa, complete with vast cellars. In 1967, Argiano, which is the south west quarter of the Brunello appellation, was one of the founder members of the Consorzio di Brunello. In 1992 Contessa Noemi Marone Cinzano bought the estate and engaged the world-famous Giacomo Tachis (the creator of Sassicaia, Tignanello and Solaia) as consultant oenologist. It was he who launched Argiano’s Super Tuscan, Solengo. Under his guidance, too, the Sangiovese vineyards were extended, and the cellars modernised.
In 2013, André Esteves, a Brazilian financier bought Argiano. Since then, he has provided funds for a massive updating of the entire estate. New cellars have been built, the villa is undergoing an extensive renovation programme and the vineyards have been mapped into six separate zones by the acclaimed Chilean terroir consultant, Pedro Parra. In consequence of the switch to organic methods, the bee population has soared throughout the estate, which covers 125 hectares, 70 of which are under vine.
The Argiano plateau is between 280 and 310 metres above sea level. The soil is clay, with limestone and fossils. Rosso di Montalcino (which could be Brunello) is 100% Sangiovese Grosso from new and younger vines (10-15 years old). It is vinified in stainless steel with a two-week maceration, and aged for between 4 and 6 months in large Slavonian oak botte.
Brunello di Montalcino, also 100% Sangiovese Grosso (usually harvested between the end of September and the middle of October), ferments on the skins in stainless steel for 2 or 3 weeks. The malolactic fermentation follows smoothly on from the alcoholic. The wine is then aged in large French oak barrels for 30 months.
Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Suolo comes from 55 year-old vines. The harvest starts at the end of September, and spontaneous fermentation for about two weeks is in temperature-controlled concrete tanks. There is a long maceration, and the malolactic fermentation is in the same concrete tanks. The wine is aged for 30 months in 15hl Garbellotto barrels specially selected for Vigna del Suolo. 3440 bottles were made in 2016.
Non Confunditur is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 30% Syrah and Sangiovese Grosso, vinified separately. Before blending, the wines are aged for 6 months in one year-old French barriques or two-year-old tonneaux. After blending, they are aged in stainless steel. Solengo is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Sangiovese: the vines range in age from 15 to 22 years. The varietals are fermented separately, with a twenty-day maceration & malolactic fermentation in cement tanks. The assembled wine is aged for 18 months in French barriques, 60% new. The first vintage was 1995. Solengo, by the way, means solitary wild boar in Tuscan, and describes perfectly the regal, powerful, self-confident beast that lurks within each.