Deep ruby color; plum, cherry, vanilla, leather, spice on the nose; blackberry, plum, cherry, strawberry, blackcurrant, tobacco, chocolate, oak on the palate.
Dry; very smooth; nonchalant, fine tannins; some acidity. Medium-full body. Loads of fruit. Touch of blackcurrant tang gives it some drama in the mid-palate, but mostly this is an insouciant red wine meant to be quaffed without complications. Subdued effort with admirable focus and refinement. Long, complex, compelling finish. 14.5% ABV
Blend of 65% merlot, 19% cabernet sauvignon, 11% cabernet franc, 5% petit verdot. Not a classic Super Tuscan—there is no sangiovese in the mix—but an Italian Bordeaux-style effort made in Tuscany. The wine’s name comes from the Valadorna vineyard where the grapes are grown. The vineyard undulates along a lake and stream, providing the cool conditions that help make merlot mellow.
Tenuta di Arceno—Estate of Arceno—is located in the Castelnuovo Beradenga comune in the southernmost edge of the Chianti Classico appellation. The closest major city is Siena. The estate sprawls across more than 2,500 acres and includes 220 acres of vines and 124 acres of olive trees. Grapevines and olive trees have been planted on the property for almost 3,000 years.
Pierre Seillan is the vigneron and winemaster. His career started at his family’s estate in Armagnac, France. He spent time in the Loire Valley, then spent 20 years in Bordeaux. The brand book notes: “His time in Bordeaux led him to discover ‘micro-crus’ as Pierre refers to them, and they became the basis of his philosophy of winemaking. At Tenuta di Arceno, Pierre works closely with his Italian team. He believes his job is to respect tradition, but also to do his part to enhance it.” The micro-cru philosophy divides each vineyard block into smaller sections based on the individual terroir. Each micro-cru is tended, harvested, and vinified separately and only come together in the final blending of the wine.
Lawrence Cronin, who grew up in New York City always aware of his family’s Italian heritage, has been the winemaker since 2002. Michele Pezzicoli is the vineyard manager. He has been with the estate since 1995 and has been key to developing Tenuta di Arceno’s sustainable vineyard program.
Tenuta di Arceno Valadorna Toscana 2015 delivers elegance and power in eminently drinkable pour. It is so smooth and delicious you focus on its hedonistic pleasuring of your palate rather than the seriousness of this Italian version of a right-bank Bordeaux blend. Rich. Seamless integration of flavors that intensify as the wine matures in your glass. Very versatile—pair with beef; lamb; veal; poultry; cured meats. $50-61