Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum Review | Standing Out in a Tough Crowd
To say it was a tough crowd that crisp September day amongst the sun-drenched vines of Sonoma would be quite the understatement. Vintage Vérité is an annual event whereby those lucky guests have the opportunity to taste the most recent release of Pierre Seillan’s highly acclaimed Vérité wines alongside a library release (usually ten years old) to observe how well the wines develop with time in the bottle.
And develop they do, with enough interest to command nearly $400 per bottle and a bevy of perfect Parker scores to match (twelve to be exact). But while Vérité might be the star of the show, guests had the opportunity to sample more offerings from the Spire Collection’s compelling portfolio. When I remarked how taken I was with the 2012 Vérité Le Désir, composed predominantly of Cabernet Franc, I was offered a blind pour of a mystery wine, and it was beautiful.
It was everything you’d want in a Cabernet Franc, possessing incredible freshness, alluring depth, an exquisite texture and impeccable balance. And the nose? Simply intoxicating. When the wine was revealed, it was none other than Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum, the flagship wine of Tenuta di Arceno in the southernmost corner of Chianti Classico. Have I mentioned yet that it costs roughly one-quarter the price of Vérité?!
Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum 2011: Composed of 77% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot seeing 12 months in 80% new French oak. The flagship Arcanum pours a deep shade of ruby in the glass. The nose is expressive and intoxicating, revealing powerful aromas of sweet black cherry and raspberry laced with delicate red florals, forest floor, dusty cocoa and pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth, it’s sumptuously textured with generous, persistent dark fruit fruit flavors framed by star anise, subtle tobacco and earth nuances. Moderate acidity lends to the excellent balance and fine texture. Hints of smoke, pepper and damp soil linger on the long, pleasant finish. Impressive for how it marries depth and power with subtlety and complexity.
Score: 95 | Price: $100
Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva 2013: Falling even more impressively on the value spectrum is this charming Chianti Classico Riserva. A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, it sees 12 months in French oak. It pours a vivid medium-ruby in the glass. Aromas of cherry cola, blueberry and raspberry are accented by rose petal and earth. In the mouth it’s generous and lively, with the solid core of dark fruit brought to life by bright acids and fine tannins. The lengthy finish persists with hints of tobacco and inflections of earth. An exceptional value, with more than enough interest for the modest price. 2,286 cases produced.
Score: 91 | Price: $25
Cabernet Franc Shines at Tenuta di Arceno
The Tenuta di Arceno estate comprises an impressive 2,500 acres, with elevations beginning at 984 feet and climbing all the way to 1,640 feet above sea level. Less than 10% of the estate is planted to vine, with 223 acres of vineyard and an additional 124 acres of olive orchard.
With such an expansive property, it’s no surprise that there’s incredible soil diversity. Soil types range from clay, sandstone, basalt and hard schist deposits throughout 10 distinct mesoclimates.
That diversity has allowed Tenuta di Arceno to successfully identify where specific varietals grow best, and they now produce three DOCG classified wines under the Tenuta di Arceno label and three IGT classified Toscana wines under the Arcanum label.
While Sangiovese and the noble Bordeaux varietals have demonstrated their ability to thrive on the estate, it’s Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc that have demonstrated the most success, becoming the signature varietals of the estate.
Consistently yielding the finest expressions of Cabernet Franc are the Apparita and Belvedere blocks. With ideal exposures and sandy clay soils, they have been identified as the very best Cabernet Franc blocks at Tenuta di Arceno. The fruit sourced from these blocks contributes the leading Cabernet Franc component of the flagship Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum – which in my opinion, is the true star of the show.