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Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2018 (750ML)

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Brunello di Montalcino
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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

97 KO / 97 WE / 95 WS / 94 JS / 94 JD / 93 DE / 93 WA / 16.5 JR

#1 Wine Spectator Top 100 2023

Camphor, forest berry, dark spice and new leather aromas form the enticing nose. Elegantly structured and radiant, the linear, vibrant palate delivers ripe red cherry, pomegranate, ground clove and peppercorn set against a backbone of bright acidity and taut, fine-grained tannins. What a beauty. Drink 2026–2038. - Kerin O'Keefe

Like a good Valentine's Day party, everything is shades of red on the vibrant, sanguine nose, from strawberries and cranberries to savory notes of pennies, brick and crisp leather. Citrus joins the cranberries on a bright, acidic palate, but a meaty, bitter finish creates balance. Dynamic fruit stands up to authoritative, unapologetic tannins.-Danielle Callegari, Wine Enthusiast

Rose, strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors are the main themes in this red, along with wild herb, mineral and cut hay accents. Racy and full of energy, with a long, saturated finish. Best from 2025 through 2042. - BS, Wine Spectator

A bright and fresh 2018 with cherry and floral aromas and flavors. Medium body, refined tannins and a linear finish with bright acidity. Tangy and energetic. Tight at the end. A year or two will open it, but already a beauty.-James Suckling

Pure and noble, the 2018 Brunello Di Montalcino is compelling in its expressive layers yet remains transparent, with aromas of fresh leather, red cherry, cedar, anise, and fresh pine all intertwining. It is medium-bodied but fills out with wonderful purity in its notes of blood orange, raspberry, saline minerals, and mouthwatering acidity. It is a gorgeous wine to hold another couple of years and drink 2025-2040.-Audrey Frick, JebDunnuck

Argiano is back on track with this excellent value 2018 Brunello. Packed with flavour, it shows the vintage well: while colour is scarce - pale garnet in hue - aromas are vivacious and enticing with spiced cherry and Mediterranean flowers bursting from the glass. Midweight and fluid, it belies the vineyards’ warm southern location. Tannins are fine and layered, with a chalky texture. While the estate did come out with its Vigna del Suolo selection, there will not be a Riserva bottling of 2018. 115,000 bottles produced.-Micheala Morris, Decanter

With the black label, the 2018 Brunello di Montalcino reveals dried fruit aromas with cola, grilled herb, candied orange peel and earthy clay. This is a mid-weight Brunello with silky tannins and a long finish. It displays a savory and spicy personality with hints of dried fruit and baked plum that add a fleeting point of sweetness. This is an approachable Brunello to drink over the next 10 years. An ample 100,000 bottles were made.-Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

Maturing mid ruby with orange tinges. Soft, sweet fruit nose that is not entirely open. Ripe fruit flavours layered with supple acidity. Seems straightforward but the finish is surprisingly layered and well balanced with cracking tannins.-Walter Speller, JancisRobinson

In the world of wine, a change of ownership or a stylistic paradigm shift can reap huge benefits, but there are always risks. In the case of Argiano, change has paid off in spades, as new owners arrived with a commitment to a return to a more traditional expression of Brunello. Reflecting more than $10 million in investment in the estate over a decade, the stellar quality of Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2018 earns it Wine of the Year honors from Wine Spectator in 2023.

A relatively large property by Montalcino standards, Argiano is one of the region’s historic wineries. Its villa, recently restored, dates from 1581. The vineyards sit on a plateau in the central part of the Brunello zone, just west of the village of Sant’Angelo in Colle. The northern vineyard parcels—made up of alluvial clay, alluvial sandy silt and loam, with outcroppings of limestone and clay over a bed of limestone and marl—are planted to Sangiovese. The southern part of the estate is devoted to international grape varieties.

The 141 acres of vineyards consist of 54 acres designated for Brunello and 25 acres for Rosso di Montalcino. In 2014, 17 acres of Sangiovese were planted with a selection developed by Paolo de Marchi of Isole & Olena in Chianti Classico in conjunction with the French nursery Guillaume. The new projects fell under the direction of Bernardino Sani. He had interned in the cellar at Argiano in 2002, rejoining the Argiano team as sales and marketing director in 2012. At the beginning of 2014, he was appointed CEO.

In late 2014, Sani enlisted consulting enologist Alberto Antonini to work with his team of cellar master Adriano Bambagioni and vineyard manager Francesco Monari. The first task was cleaning the wine-aging cellar and investing in large casks of 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 liters, plus 600-liter tonneaux to replace the barriques that were used to age both the classic Brunello and a single-vineyard Brunello bottling called Vigna del Suolo. (A new vinification facility had been built in 2000.)

The team then turned its attention to the vineyards. With the help of viticultural consultant Pedro Parra, the various parcels were mapped for soil type and composition and electromagnetic surveys were undertaken. The results provided a better understanding of how to manage each parcel, pinpoint any problem areas, determine harvest dates and plan micro-vinifications. They also eliminated fertilizers and pesticides to work organically, though the estate has not obtained certification. Since the change, Monari feels the vines’ vegetative growth and the grape quality have become more uniform.

The classic Brunello di Montalcino is a blend of six different parcels. (The Vigna del Suolo bottling, made since the 2016 vintage, comes from a 10-acre parcel of 60-year-old Sangiovese vines planted on pure limestone soils.) After harvesting, the grapes for the Brunello are chilled with carbon dioxide for a five- to six-day cold maceration. Fermentation takes place in cement vats with indigenous yeast, and maceration on the skins runs 20 to 21 days. After the malolactic conversion in cement, the new wine ages 3.5 years in 1,000-, 2,000- and 3,000-liter casks. The 2018 was bottled in May 2022.

The move to a traditional style infuses the Brunellos with greater purity and energy. Combined with the elegant 2018 vintage’s character, the classic Brunello features rose, strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors, along with wild herb, mineral and cut hay accents matched to a racy profile. - Wine Spectator

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