As a winelover, you got to have some respect for a wine producer that can trace its history back as long as 1385. Back then Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member of the winemaker’s guild in Florence, “Arte Fiorentina”, and today, 26 generations later, the firm is run by Marchese Piero Antinori and his three daughters.
Antinori is one of the most important and biggest wine producers in Italy. Besides a palace in Florence the family owns a long row of estates and vineyards, mostly in Tuscany but elsewhere in Italy and in California and Chile as well. Together with families like Frescobaldi they represent tradition, which has managed to survive during the centuries.
Among the many wines produced by Antinori, I tasted a few recently, when the wine importer and shop, Vinens Verden (http://www.godevine.dk/) offered a chance to become co importer. In generally Antinori is known for producing fruity wines of good quality that don’t need to age for a long time but are ready to drink. And that goes for the cheaper wines as well as the more expensive.
We started with a white and a rosé. Tuscany doesn’t have a long tradition for producing white wine, due to the fact that the white grapes often were blended into the red Chianti wines. But that has been forbidden since 2005 when the regulation for Chianti Classico was changed. Villa Antinori Bianco 2011 (IGT) is made of 70 % Trebbiano and Malvasia – the traditionally varieties in Tuscany – and then 30 % blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio. The result is a light coloured fresh wine, with flowers and some grapefruit in the nose. Well balanced and medium bodied.
The Scalabrone Rosato 2012 from Guado al Tasso in Bolgheri at the coast south of Livorno was very light pink in the colour, fresh with a lot of strawberry notes. It is made of a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
The reds started with Villa Antinori Rosso 2009, which has been produced since 1924 and with inspiration form Bordeaux. The grapes are 55 % Sangiovese, 25 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 % Merlot and 5 % Syrah. Therefore it is classified as Toscana IGT and not DOC. The later category demands a minimum of 80 % Sangiovese. It has stored 12-14 months on French oak and then about a year in the bottle. The result is a very fruity wine with dark berries and soft tannins. Very pleasant to drink with an international approach, but still with a Tuscan style.
After that followed three Chianti Classicos: Pèppoli 2009 from the estate with the same name, Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 and Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007. The Pèppoli had some raspberry and a bit stable in the nose, a bit tannins but still soft and a short tail. It has performed better before. Marchese Antinori was darker and very powerful and seducing in the nose. Black berries and a bit oak due to the 14 month in small French barriques. A pleasant and powerful wine. The same goes for the Badia a Passignane mads of 100 % Sangiovese. Concentrated with a lot of fruit and a very long and beautiful tail.
After these three Chianti Classicos the next wine had a hard time. Il Brucato from Bolgheri was lighter and more anonymous in the style. It is made of 60 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Merlot and 10 % Syrah. Drinkable and easy going.
Finally we tried Tignanello 2009, one of the so called Super Tuscans that appeared in the 70s and 80s, when the winemakers started to experiment with other grape varieties. It is made of 80 % Sangiovese, 15 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 % Cabernet Franc. Powerful, expressive and elegant in the nose, notes of raspberries and a lot of fruit, well balanced with some acid and tannins and a long aftertaste. It is a wine with and understandably good reputation, but of course more expensive too.
All together Antinori was not a disappointment and in generally gives good value for the money.
Read more: http://www.antinori.it/en