Italy – Argentiera
Argentiera is the fifth largest winery in the coastal Tuscan appellation of Bolgheri. Larger producers include some guys producing wines called Sassicaia, Ornellaia, and Ca’Marcanda. But bigger isn’t always better, right?
The DOC of Bolgheri is a relative infant in Tuscany, created only in 1994, in response to the absurd scenario of the aforementioned wines fetching Rolls-Royce prices while sporting the pedestrian appellation of vino da tavola, or the slightly more upscale IGT Toscana.
Previously there had been no DOC in place for these supposed renegades making wine based on the French grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the sacred heartland of that most Italian of grape varieties, Sangiovese. Sacrilege!
But the vine itself is blind to any such notions of national pride, and the fact is that these cepages Bordelaise are incredibly happy in this little pocket of the Maremma coast. The proof is in these so-called Super Tuscan wines, which are super indeed.
Thus the creation of Bolgheri DOC, the only Italian DOC to be dominated by French grape varieties. Stylistically the wines fall somewhere between Bordeaux and Napa, ripe and soft while remaining fresh and lively, and marked by a uniquely Italian scent of fine, barrel-aged Balsamic.
Argentiera’s first vintage was in 2003. In the first few years, the Fratini brothers relied on the farming and winemaking expertise of neighbours Antinori, in a joint partnership arrangement. Later, having found their footing, they bought back their neighbours’ share to retain full ownership.
Along with their flagship Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore DOC, they produce two very accessible Bolgheri DOCs, Villa Donaratico and Poggio Ginepri. Cin cin! Or shall we say, santé!