Seven years can be the charm for sangiovese, much as it can be for shiraz. Seven years from vintage, cork gods being kind, sangiovese based wines not explicitly built for early drinking will have often taken on some softening of tannins without hollowing out the fruit.
This bottle of the 2005 vintage Brunello from Argiano drank well at dinner last Friday. A thank-you night for the people who helped me pick the sagrantino I have planted at Quarry Hill, we had dinner at Dieci e Mezzo in Canberra. After a Campari and soda and some Prosecco, we got into the food and this bottle.
A deep colour, there are pleasant candied cherry and nutty things to smell. And oak. Oak does show in the wine, but the fruit is not totally swamped. Argiano keeps their Brunello in oak for two and half years, starting with a year in French oak small barrels, before moving the wine to Slavonian oak in larger format botti for another year and half or so. A kind of new-school-plus-old-school approach. A bet each way?
There is oak on the palate too, but also ripples of sangiovese tannin. The overall impression is of fruit ageing gracefully, with oak as a buttress more than a distinct ingredient. Worth a look if you see it on a list and have a hankering for Brunello spread across old and new styles. I suspect the 2007 vintage is the current retail.
Website. $120 (list price). Cork sealed.