The history of Argiano
The estate of Argiano
MONTALCINO EST. 1580
Argiano is part of the history of the Montalcino region and it’s one of the most prestigious and historical reality in the area. The name is thought to derive from the first settlements in Roman times – ‘Ara Janus’, referring to the god Janus. Another potential origin could be ‘the land of the River Orcia’ – known in ancient times as ‘Orgia’ and therefore Argiano.
The history of Argiano has a turning point in the 16th century with the decline of the Tolomei family in favor of the noble Pecci family from Sienna and with the construction of their magnificent villa between 1580 and 1596, perfect exempla of a 16th century noble residence. The name of the villa, Bell’Aria, was chosen when the Pecci decided to build it preserving the original center of the castle on the crest of the hill precisely because of the air quality.
The wine-making industry of Argiano was born also thanks to the construction of the cellar in those years, about four centuries ago. Besides, the 1616 manuscript of Bartolomeo Gherardini, the Auditor General in Siena, makes reference to the production of olive oil.
Over the course of the centuries the Estate passed through various noble families until it came under the inspired leadership of Lady Ersilia Caetani Lovatelli, who was able to promote the products of Argiano in major cultural gatherings at the time. It’s well-know what the great poet Carducci declaimed in his verse: “I cleanse myself of this bitterness with the wine of Argiano, which is extremely good…”
Argiano won the gold medal at the Brussels Food Fair in 1932 for fine dessert and table wines, and in 1935 it featured in the Trade Exhibition of typical Italian wines. In 1967 Argiano made history with the Brunello of Montalcino, playing a key role as a founding organization in the birth of the Consortium. In 1992 the Estate passed from the Caetani Lovatelli to the Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano, who introduced significant innovations to the management of the wine-making industry and revived the name of Argiano. Along with the countess came Giacomo Tachis, the world famous oenologist; a unique partnership which will bring to the creation of Solengo, the great Supertuscan of Montalcino.
And so we come to the present, with the transfer of ownership and company direction in 2013 into the hands of Bernardino Sani, who from 2015 also signs the wines.
Since 2019 Argiano is the first company in Montalcino to become plastic-free. All single-use plastics have been eliminated. The idea was inspired by a cyclical model, an approach based on waste differentiation and which follows the Rule of Return, or rather the re-use of the company’s discarded products (such as stems and vine shoots), and maintains the 4 Rs for the environment: Reduce, Recuperate, Recycle and Reuse.
Argiano practices an organic and sustainable method of agriculture. It believes in the balance of biodiversity and strives to attain it, through techniques aiming to soil fertility, implementing with natural products like weeds, chestnut tannins, propolis and zeolite. Even natural insecticides are banned; instead, techniques like sexual confusion and the release of adversarial insects are employed. The “bee” project which consists in placing hives next to the vineyards is joins the ones related to the usage of Mycorrhizae and the Microzonation study. The latter in particular, comprising the discovery of different microzones within single vineyard plots, enables to target and focus our approaches.
“We believe that the vine should not be designed to our liking but should be studied, understood, interpreted, and respected; we believe that it shouldn’t be manipulated, but allowed to express itself, to define a place, a climate, a harvest. This is what Good Agriculture means to us.”
(Bernardino Sani and Francesco Monari)