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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



The 2008 Solaia is richer and darker than the Tignanello, but it isn’t an appreciably more complex or complete wine. It shows gorgeous depth and textural richness to match an expressive core of blackberry jam, smoke, scorched earth, crushed rocks and cassis. This is a beautiful wine, but not as great as I had hoped. The 2008 Solaia is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. ||Antinori seems to do everything well these days, from churning out millions of bottles of supermarket wines all the way to turning out superb versions of their many flagship bottlings. This is another impressive set of new releases with a number of highlights. Over the years oenologist Renzo Cotarella has moved away from the super-late harvests of the late 1990s/early 2000s in favor of picking slightly earlier, a decision that has paid off handsomely, especially over the last few years. Antinori’s 2008s, from a vintage that is quite inconsistent across the board, are superb. I remember spending a few days near the estate’s Tignanello and Badia a Passignano estates in mid-August 2008. The days were very hot, but the nights were so cool that a sweater or light jacket was a necessity Wine Advocate.August, 2011

Piero Antinori: The Importance

As Robert Parker writes, “Piero Antinori has been one of the leading forces in Italian wine for decades”, and this estate shows no sign of slowing down in their constant drive to create outstanding wine which combines tradition and innovation.


The impact that this estate has had on the wine world is clear, and in 2008, Piero Antinori received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Wine Enthusiast for “bringing Italy to the forefront of world enology in terms of innovation, quality and recognition.”


Piero Antinori: The Insight

Tignanello, which first appeared in 1971, started a revolution in winemaking in Tuscany. It was the very first super Tuscan, including international grape varieties into their Sangiovese wine, which showed the incredible potential of Cabernet in Tuscany, and aged their wine in small French oak barriques. Although this caused great controversy at the time, it is a trend that many winemakers have followed, including Luce della Vite. It is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The estate also produces Solaia, which is made with the grapes from the sunniest plot in the vineyard, producing a rich, deep, age worthy wine which is predominantly made up of Cabernet Sauvignon. Both these wines are always highly rated by critics, with few vintages receiving fewer than 90 points from critics such as Robert Parker and Antonio Galloni.


Of the 98 point 2010 Solaia, Antonio Galloni writes that “it is obvious why the 2010 is the greatest Solaia ever made. The 2010 has it all; expressive aromatics, wonderfully nuanced fruit and tons of supporting structure. The 2010 has been magnificent since I started tasting the component wines in 2011. Now that it is in bottle, it is every bit as stunning as I had hoped. Readers will not want to miss this towering masterpiece from the Antinori family. In time, the 2010 will be recognized as one of the all-time legendary Solaias. Actually, it already is.


Antinori’s experimentation with international grape varieties extended to white wine as well. In 1941, Piero’s father Niccolo Antinori purchases the estate of Castello della Sala which no produces a signature white blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto, Cervaro della Salla.


Of the 94+ point Cervaro della Sala from 2011, Monica Larner writes “the 2011 Cervaro della Sala is an outstanding expression that will benefit from many more years of careful aging. The blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto opens to golden rays of luminous brilliance that glimmer through the glass. The bouquet is beautifully shaped by toasted almond, vanilla, clove, orange zest, stone fruit and honey. Mineral notes add dimension to what is otherwise a super-rich and balanced mouthfeel. The 2011 vintage shows unique energy and intensity.”


Antinori owns many wineries in Italy, including Pian Delle Vigne in Brunello di Montalcino and Guado al Tasso in Bolgheri, which produces, amongst others, a signature Bordeaux blend wine.


Of the 96+ point 2001 Guado al Tasso, Monica Larner writes that “this wine is seductive, supple and soft thanks to its dark cherry, ripe fruit, exotic spice, cassis, grilled herb, crushed mineral and sweet chewing tobacco… There's nothing to not like here. The quality of fruit is forceful but pristine, and the mouthfeel is nicely layered and long in length. This is an impressive wine and if you have bottles in your cellar, you can count on it to award great pleasure and overall satisfaction.”


Antinori has also expanded its international reach through several joint ventures, including Antica in Napa Valley, Col Solare in Washington State and Haras de Pirque in Chile’s Maipo Valley.


Piero Antinori: The Background

The company of Marchesi Antinori can be traced all the way back to 1385, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member of the ‘Arte Fiorentina’, the Winemakers’ Guild in Florence. Antinori are one of the biggest wine companies in Italy as well as being the 10th oldest family-owned company in the world. The estate has continued in the hands of this family for 26 generations, with respect for tradition combined with innovation being at the forefront, and which has led them to become leaders in Italian winemaking. As Piero has said: “ancient roots play an important role in our work,but have never been a limit to our innovative spirit”. They are a member of the Primum Familiae Vini (First/Best Families in Wine) which currently has 11 members, including Mouton Rothschild, Joseph Drouhin, Vega Sicilia and Pol Roger.


The company is now run by Piero’s daughter Albiera, alongside her sisters Allegra and Alessia.

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