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Average critic rating : 95.0 points
Antinori’s 2007 Tignanello is wonderfully ripe and seductive in its dark cherries, flowers, spices, tobacco, sage, cedar, mint and minerals. This is as opulent a Tignanello as I have ever tasted but there is just enough acidity and structure from the Sangiovese to keep things from going over the top. The wine’s richness and warmth are such that in a blind tasting I mistook the 2007 Tignanello for a wine from Maremma! The dense, muscular fruit follows through to an impeccable finish with no hard edges and impossibly fine, silky tannins. Simply put, the 2007 is a magnificent Tignanello. The 2007 Tignanello is 80% Sangiovese aged in 300-liter French oak barrels (1/3 new), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, both aged in 100% new 225-liter French oak barriques. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2027. ||I continue to be amazed at the high average quality Antinori achieves across a production that exceeds a whopping 20 million bottles per year. This is a fabulous set of new releases. Long-time Oenologist Renzo Cotarella could certainly have rested on his laurels; after all he is already one of Italy’s most celebrated winemakers. Instead, Cotarella continues to improve quality in a meaningful way. The highlights are the 2007s, which are off the charts. I first sampled Antinori’s 2007 Tignanello and Solaia two years ago, when they were still separate wines from individual parcels, but even then it was clear these were going to be special wines. Tasting Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Tignanello and Solaia vineyards, both in Chianti Classico, was an unforgettable lesson in the uniqueness of each of these fabulous terroirs. The Solaia vineyard in particular is clearly one of Italy’s greatest sites. Everything I tasted was loaded with personality and sheer character. One of the recent major changes at Antinori is the separate vinification of component wines for Guado al Tasso, Tignanello and Solaia, which began with the 2004 vintage. In 2007 Cotarella took that approach even further, with small parcel-by-parcel vinifications that allowed for maximum flexibility when the final blend for each wine was ultimately assembled. The 2007 harvest brings with it a number of additional changes. Syrah has been eliminated from Guado al Tasso in favor of Cabernet Franc, a grape that is proving to be exceptionally well-suited to the Tuscan coast. If the 2007 is any indication, Guado al Tasso is taking on a much more Bordeaux-like personality. The estate is also gradually moving toward slightly larger barrels and less new oak for their Sangioveses. Wine Advocate.October, 2010
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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