Located in Tuscany, Italy, the wines of Tenuta di Arceno fall into the category of Rosso di Toscana. Our vineyard plots cling to rocky slopes around the estate with altitude ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 feet. The soil of the 90 hectares (220 acres) of vineyards is predominantly clay mixed with sandstone, basalt and hard schist. This stony soil is ideal as it facilitates drainage while at the same time reflecting the sun back up on to the vines.
The original estate plantings now grow alongside rows planted during the 1990s, amounting in all to 59 vineyard blocks. The largest number of vineyards is planted in Merlot, followed closely by Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Smaller percentages of Cabernet Franc and Syrah add complexity and diversity to Tenuta di Arceno's final blends. Vine density exceeds 5,000 plants per hectare (2,000 plants per acre) and all are low yield vines: 6.7 metric tons (3 US tons per acre).
The temperate climate is ideal for the grape varieties chosen. Protected from the cold of the north, the majority of our vineyards benefit from southwest exposure, allowing sunlight to reach our vines the whole day through.
Tenuta di Arceno's history stretches back to the time of the Etruscans who dominated central Italy prior to the formation of the Roman Empire. The first traces of the mysterious and extraordinary Etruscan civilization appear in the 8th century B.C. The Ambra river, which flows to Florence, and the Ombrone river, which flows to the Mediterranean, formed the nucleus of the ancient civilization. Still today these two important rivers flow on either side of the Tenuta di Arceno estate. Located at the historical birthplace of its culture, it is not surprising to find that the word Arceno has as its root, the Etruscan word arché meaning origin point.
According to historians, wine was introduced to the Etruscans by the Greeks around 700 B.C. It soon became widely enjoyed and was even exported to various regions of the Mediterranean after the Etruscans began stopping their wine containers with cork. From this time of beginnings and innovation, a rich history of wine-making tradition was born. Following its growth through the ages, we eventually arrive at the present and the region now known as Tuscany.
The Tenuta di Arceno estate lies in the hills of the Chianti region in central Tuscany between Florence and Siena, near Castelnuovo Berardenga. Tuscany is home to Italy's most renowned wines. Among them are the Super Tuscans, referred to as such due to their superior quality and position outside of official premium wine designations. The Tenuta di Arceno estate produces a variety of Super Tuscans including Arcanum I and Arcanum II.
From its roots in the Etruscan civilization, its ownership by the wealthy and respected Taja family, its sale to one of the most illustrious families of Siena, the Piccolominis, and finally to its acquisition by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke in 1994, the history of Tenuta di Arceno unfolds, long and sinuous in time. The people who live and work there today are only the most recent link to ancient traditions, which should be conserved and respected.
Pierre Seillan, Vigneron and Winemaster, has a simple, yet powerful belief, "You just need to listen to the earth's message. Everything you need to know is right there in the soil and vines."
By listening to the terroir of the different vineyards of the Tenuta di Arceno estate, Seillan along with Winemaker, Lawrence Cronin and Vineyard Manager, Michele Pezzicoli identified those areas which are naturally suited to the needs of each specific grape variety. They then ranked every vineyard parcel by parcel on a scale of 1 to 5 according to the quality of the vines and the soil in each block. This idea may appear elementary, but in a world of timelines and bottom lines, it is a rare gift to be capable of perceiving and respecting the true nature of a terroir. Very often, due to business needs or market trends, varietals are imposed upon vineyards and technology drowns out the voices of the vines themselves.
When it comes to quality, the earth's message is indispensable. Seillan and his team allow the vineyards to speak for themselves and as a result have produced wines of unmistakable quality.