In 1996, Piedmont legend Angelo Gaja bought a 250-acre estate on the Tuscan coast. Just a few miles away from where Piero Antinori struck gold with Ornellaia and Sassicaia, Gaja’s Ca’ Marcanda would go on to dazzle Robert Parker and Wine Spectator. Two years later, a German family took a page from Gaja’s playbook, buying a neighboring 50-acre estate and investing in world-class farming and cellar protocols. While the top estates of Bolgheri inflated their prices as accolades from Parker and Wine Spectator rolled in, the Knaufs kept prices in check at their Campo alla Sughera.For less than half the price of its neighbors, the 2011 “Arnione” Bolgheri Superiore has garnered 93 points from Wine Spectator, which called it “elegant and intense.” James Suckling and wine industry heavyweight Tasting Panel Magazine followed suit with matching 93-point scores. Compared to $90 at Gaja next door, the 2011 “Arnione” Bolgheri Superiore is a hidden gem, with case production at just a fraction of the tens of thousands cranked out by its neighbors Gaja and Antinori each year — get in now.
In the village of Bolgheri in the countryside of the Tyrrhenian coast, the Knaufs struck viticultural gold—gravelly, well-drained soil meters deep, akin to the terroir-defining gravel croupes of Bordeaux. The family planted 49 acres of world-class Bordeaux varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, sparing no expense. Adjacent to Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda and bordered by the Fosso di Bolgheri waterway, the terroir is perfectly suited for top quality red wine production. Cool coastal breezes make this microclimate even more ideal, allowing the grapes to ripen to perfection while maintaining juicy acidity under the warm Tuscan sun.
While the top estates of Bolgheri inflated their prices as the accolades from Parker and Wine Spectator rolled in, the Knaufs continued to offer world-class wine at unbelievable prices. “Arnione” offers top quality without breaking the bank or sacrificing density, lushness and definition—not to mention it’s drinking beautifully right now.