The wines of Antinori combine a taste of the heart of Italy with tremendous history.
And they are readily available in the United States, thanks to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, which is the exclusive importer and distributor of Antinori wines in the United States.
I recently had the opportunity to taste through the Antinori lineup, courtesy of the Ste. Michelle team in Woodinville, Wash.
Peppoli 2013 Chianti Classico, $18. This is a blend of Sangiovese (90%), Merlot and Syrah, and the label was introduced in 1985 and is a modern interpretation of Chianti Classico – thanks to the addition of international varieties. The wine is made at Antinori’s Peppoli estate, which is 247 acres – 136 of which are under vine – in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone. This opened with aromas of brown sugar, molasses, black cherry and spice, followed by flavors of raspberry and black cherry. It’s all backed by mild tannins and crisp, bright acidity.
Marchesi Antinori 2012 Tignanello, Toscana, $75. This is the original Super Tuscan, a blend of Sangiovese (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). This wine is produced using grapes only from Antinori’s Tignanello Estate, which is planted to 140 acres of grapes that match the wine’s blend. This wine is bottled only in favorable vintages. This beautiful example from a warm year reveals aromas of toasted oak, brown sugar, plum and dark cherry. On the palate, it unveils flavor that start with a rich entry of bold, dark fruit, particularly plum. The firm flavors are backed by mild tannins and good acidity.
Villa Antinori 2011 Riserva Chianti Classico, $27. This affordable classic is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. Beginning with this vintage, the wines were made at Antinori’s new winemaking facility in Bargino, which is just south of Florence. This vintage began cool and wet but warmed up by late July and early August. This forced a lot more fruit to be thinned and removed to ensure quality. The resulting wine opens with aromas of plum, violet, black cherry and spice. On the palate, a rich entry invites another sip – and a forkful of lasagna – thanks to flavors of blackberry, black cherry and rich, round, smooth flavors. Firm tannins are backed by rich acidity.
Badia a Passignano 2009 Chianti Classico, $47. This 100% Sangiovese is one of Antinori’s most exciting Chiantis – and has a great story behind it. The Antinoris bought this 800-acre estate around an abbey that still is home to Vallombrosian monks. The area has been continuously inhabited since the Etruscan period and has been renowned for its wine production for more than 1,000 years. All of the grapes come from the estate. This opens with aromas of mild oak, cherry, cooked strawberry and molasses. On the palate, if unveils flavors of dark plum, black cherry, strawberry and rich, deep, intense flavors of dark red flavors.
Marchese Antinori 2011 Riserva Chianti Classico, $39. Produced only in worthy vintages, this beautiful red is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, using grapes exclusively from the Tenuta Tignanello estate in the Chianti Classico region. The vintage started cool and wet but turned to drought conditions by summer. The resulting wine is rich and classic, with aromas of black cherry, vanilla and toast, followed by big, smooth flavors of dark fruit. It’s all backed by plush, even velvety tannins that tilt toward elegance.