The connection between fine wine and fashion is a successful and recurring one in the wine industry. Of course, the most visible is LVMH with Louis Vuitton partnering with Moet Hennessey and also owning Cheval Blanc, Chateau d’Yquem, and Clos des Lambrays among other things. Salvatore Ferragamo makes some distinctive, if less famous reds on his Il Borro estate in Tuscany. Chanel owns Napa Valley’s St. Supery winery as well as Chateaux Canon and Rauzan-Segla in Bordeaux. Roberto Cavalli owns vineyards in South Africa and Tuscany. The common thread? Creativity and the opportunity to take the proverbial blank canvas and turn it into something special.
Podernuovo a Palazzone is one of those stories. The family involved is the Bulgari family (yes that Bulgari family). The same kind of passion and creative energy that goes into successful fashion companies is dangerously close to the kind of spirit it takes to succeed in the world of wine. The ‘best’ are the best because of passion, energy, uncompromising effort and attention to detail among other things. Just like we make the point that it is best to buy little wines from top of line wine producers because they simply work on a different standard than anyone else, so it is with fashion folk. Success is expected. Cutting corners is out of the question if the goal is to achieve the best result. So, in this case, fine watches, jewelry, hand bags…wine? Why not?
The story of the estate goes like this. From jewelry to grapes, Giovanni Bulgari’s venture into winemaking has to be seen as another form of creative outlet. After years of traveling the world to seek out the best gems for his family’s jewelry company, Bulgari is now living his dream of working outdoors on the land, with products that reflect the territory he loves located near Siena in Tuscany. In 2004, Bulgari, together with his father Paolo Bulgari, longtime chairman of the Rome-based jeweler, bought the abandoned Podernuovo estate and transformed it into a full-fledged international agricultural firm and award-winning vineyard.
The 42 acres of vineyards at PoderNuovo were planted in 2007. Their terrain is rich with clay, sand and chalk in differing proportions, a good match for different varieties of grapes. To that end they have planted several grape varieties on this estate in the southern tip of Tuscany near Siena and make three different reds on the property. The Argirio is their stylistic nod to Bolgheri, the blend being predominantly Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the mix. The name is a derivative of the term argile which refers to its clay-based soils.
Lovely, very polished, this one boasts a sleek core of black fruits with savory notes of smoke and grilled herbs alongside dark chocolate, leather, and spice. This shows the best side of Franc with a ‘slippery’, elegant, medium weight palate and deceptive length, with none of the detracting evergreen notes. Like a fine Bordeaux or Bolgheri wine the breeding of the Podernuovo A Palazzone Toscana Argirio 2014 is evident from first whiff with the balance precise and the edges supple. This one really sings with meats though we see a wide range of applications and a very enticing drinkability that make it a wine for all seasons.
The wine is definitely liked by the media as well as us. James Suckling offers “An extremely pretty 2014 with blackcurrant, spice, hints of rose petal and vanilla. Medium to full body, firm and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink in 2018 but already beautiful. 93 Points!”
Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner had these comments, “… Those Cabernet aromas reign supreme. Inky dark fruit is followed by grilled herb, rosemary twig and cured leather. This is a full-bodied red wine with luscious dark fruit and savory spice. Those spicy flavors follow through with persistence and power on the finish…92 points”
As the Bulgari’s admit, they can’t expect the aura of their other brand to shine on this one and that wine is an entirely different arena than fashion even if the passion, quality and attention to detail are the same. While their $35 list price isn’t crazy for a wine this good, the market did not react to the Argirio 2014 enthusiastically enough and fast enough. As always, we were there to help out. That’s why we are able to sell this flashy, polished, fashionable red for half of the ‘list’ price ($17.98). Bellisimo!