Henry Yuen (Chinese blog: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/?variant=zh-hans )
When we think of Italian wines, we think of Sangiovese and some other indigenous grape varietals such as Nebbiolo and Barbera. But in Italy, there is a wine region where Bordeaux grape varietals are widely planted. In the region of Bolgheri near Florence, cultivated in the land of Tenuta Argentiera are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.
Being closest to the sea and with the tallest escalate from the plains to the hills, the estate of Tenuta Argentiera is blessed with geographic and climatic means to produce excellent wines. The sun, the Mediterranean terroir, the superior soil and the land nurture the vines well. All the grape varietals, caressed by Mother Nature and taken care of by passion and experience, all collaborated and consequently, wines that receive nods globally keep coming out of the picturesque land. The owners, brothers Corrado and Marcello Fratini take full advantage of Mother Nature’s gifts, fellow farmers and workers; and turn 60 of their 80 hectares into vineyards.
I tasted some very fine Tenuta Argentiera’s wines in a recent event and was absolutely impressed by these Italian wines intwined with hint of Bordeaux characteristics.
The 2008 Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore hit my palate with such mellow but ecstatic sensation, it grabbed my attention immediately! The stringently selected grapes - 55% Cab Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Cab Franc – had a short stainless steel fermentation and maceration period of only 25 to 30 days, but the 18 months in French oak did the trick. The velvety body with a vanilla aroma conceals complex flavours of ripened plums and berries. Swirl and sip this high score wine on its own, or pair it with slow-baked ribs or roasted venison loin.
The 2009 Poggio ai Ginepri, crafted with 50% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Syrah and 20% Merlot harvested from another vineyard with different soil condition of clay, gravel, limestone…etc. The purple red coloured wine offers a soft and round palate, balanced tannins. The flavour profile, made up of dark fruit, a touch of citrus and spices, is quite interesting. Grilled steaks, barbecued or skewer meats, smoked duck and even cured meat will go well with this very pleasant wine.
The 2010 Villa Donoratico is made with 4 varietals -45% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Cab Franc, 15% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot – these are grown at higher elevation fields that yield less. The enticing fruit-forward aroma plus the attractive flavours of berries and currants get better as it opens up. Drink this with any sizzling clay-pot meat stews, even poultry in a sweet soy sauce with a subtle touch of dark vinegar and chilli oil.