The Tenuta Argentiera estate is situated on the coast of the Toscany between Livorno and Grosseto, about 100km south-west of Florence, on the southernmost border of the small but prestigious Bolgheri DOC zone.
It is part of the former Tenuta di Donoratico estate owned by the Serristori, an influential Florentine family who were given permanent use of this land by the Medici family in 1512. Following a period of political turmoil the Medici had returned to power, also thanks to the Serristoris' support.
In Etruscan times marshes, natural springs and silver mines (the name "Argentiera" derives from "argento", Italian for silver) were found on the uplands of the estate making it an important mining and farming area.
Soon after the lands , destined to pasture and olive-grove, were part of the Bossi Pucci family estate and, from the beginning of the 70's, of the Paradiso estate, owned by Mr. Scaglietti, famous orthopaedic surgeon.
Today the Tenuta is jointly owned by brothers Corrado and Marcello Fratini, renowned entrepreneurs from Florence, and Marchese Piero Antinori.
The owners of this delightful land have paid close attention to its ecological vocation and landscape. In the Bolgheri DOC zone Argentiera is both the closest estate to the sea and the highest in altitude, stretching from the plains up to the hills. The spectacular view from the vineyards extends from Baratti in the south to Castiglioncello in the north, including the islands of the Tuscan archipelago (Elba, Gorgona and Capraia, with Corsica in the background).
The land, which is very well-suited to the production of great red wines, is considered to be among the most beautiful in the Bolgheri area.
The land, situated at altitudes between 150 and 200m above sea level, has fairly loose soil with a good percentage of clay and a high level of limestone.
At just 2km from the sea the winery's climate is unique in the Bolgheri area. Constant breezes throughout the summer prevent high temperatures which would place the vines under excessive stress.
The winery is also situated in the least rainy area of Bolgheri. Due to its proximity to the sea and the cordillera of hills forming a natural amphitheatre around Argentiera, the vineyards are protected from humid currents of air and violent rainfall in the summer period.
VignetiThe Argentiera estate covers a surface area of 72 ha, 60 ha of which are specialized vineyards planted with the typical varieties of the Bolgheri DOC:
In the Bolgheri area these varieties assume typical local characteristics and are capable of outstandingly high quality.
All the vineyards have the denomination DOC Bolgheri in the town of Castagneto Carducci.
The vineyards were planted following the "Cordone Speronato" system with a density of about 7.000 plants per hectare. The rows have a distance of 2,20 and 2,00 m from each other and on the row the vines are between 80 and 60 cm.
The project for the Tenuta Argentiera Wine Cellar developed out of the desire to create a building characterized by the architectural styles typical of the Tuscan coast between Livorno and Grosseto, and which was able to merge itself into the surrounding area without disturbing the beauty of this plateau, standing 200mt. above sea level, and surrounded by vineyards and Mediterranean vegetation..
The choice of the Wine Cellar's position was determined by the encompassing landscape from where you can see the Islands of the Tuscan Archipelago (Elba, Capraia and Gorgona) as well as Corsica, and with a 180° panoramic view of the Gulf from Castiglioncello to Baratti.
The land behind this Wine Cellar is dominated by a vast area of typical Mediterranean vegetation.
Given the Wine Cellar's dominant position, our aim was to re-use a style and a language belonging precisely to this part of the Tuscan coast, drawing inspiration from the garrisons of the early 18th century.
The project was influenced by the garrisons' classical architectural structure with slightly leaning, rather thick walls, thus exploiting the natural thermoregulation offered by this kind of building.
In order to fully respect the building's characteristics, its details, too, have followed the area's language using salvaged or typically Tuscan building materials (exterior floorings and covering in terracotta bricks, traditional terracotta tiles, travertine interior floors), typical shapes and colours (exterior arches, vaulted ceilings in rooms where the barriques are used).
Once having chosen the site and type of building desired, the project was further developed by taking into account all the requisites of a vinification cellar: spacious areas for the various wine-making phases, located underground in order to optimize the cellar's thermal conditions; a vital, active courtyard giving easy access to lorries; a spacious room, indoors, where to receive grapes, located above the vinification area (where the wine casks are kept).
After having decided the cellar's actual shape, the arrangement of the other rooms above the cellar was established. On the ground floor, apart from the area used to receive the grapes after being harvested, areas were planned to welcome guests, rooms were allocated as kitchens, and space was set out for reception rooms, wine tastings and various events.
On the first floor, the company's administrative offices and wine tasting and conference rooms were situated.
The 850 sq.mt vinification cellar (underneath the building which you can see above ground) holds stainless steel barrels for a total capacity of 8.500 hl; a part of the cellar has truncated conical barrels into which the grapes arrive directly by force of gravity from the floor above, without the use of any pumps, and relying on a treader during the vinification process; while in the other part of the cellar there are various sized, stainless steel barrels with traditional vinification systems by means of remounting.
All these processes are controlled by a computerized operator which constantly records and adjusts the temperature by means of hot and cold water flows.
The wine refining cellar where only barriques, mostly in French oak (Allier and Troncais), are used, is fitted out in an environment which, by electronic detectors, adjusts temperature and humidity so as to guarantee the best conditions for this very delicate phase of wine-making. At present, this special cellar contains about 1.200 barriques.
The room where the grapes arrive on the ground floor, above the vinification areas, has been planned to be indoor, so that the selection of the grapes is not affected by meteorological conditions. This allows for careful operations with the necessary time being taken and in hygienic conditions which are excellent for the grapes.