A tasting of Antinori

A much-anticipated afternoon presentation by Negociants, tasting through a range of fine wines from the Antinori group. They now encompass a world of wine. Spreading from their roots in Tuscany, across now to Umbria, Friuli, Piedmont and overseas to Napa, Chile and beyond. The oldest winery to remain in the same hands in Italy – they were founded in 1385, and are now in the  26th generation of family winemaking.

Well known for their ‘Super Tuscan’ wines – a phrase coined by wine critics such as Robert Parker and Burt Anderson to describe their wine from 1971 – Tignanello – and later Solaia (a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend) – which moved away from the constrictions of the DOC where only certain grapes were allowed. A mix of French varietals and Italian terroir and winemaking as it were – including the use of small french oak barrels.

Our tasting today is presented by Guido Vannucchi, and it also includes some wines from Piedmont – the Prunotto label from Alba, in the Langhe area. A Prunotto Barbera d’Asti Fiulot 2002 is a wine that the company will tell you is designed for drinking today – not really one for the cellar. I do think that a year or two will aid the drinkability though – it does seem quite youthful and jazzy. That is, of course, in its DNA – fresh, bold and fruity. A vibrant purple/magenta colour, there is a note of citrus here as well as the cherry, raspberry and plum. Led by acidity, the palate also has a raspy tannin. A bold, refreshing wine – could take a chill if you fancied it as a summer drink. 90pts

Prunotto Occheti Nebbiolo d’Alba 2021 is labelled ‘Langhe’ and Occheti is where the grapes are from. A much paler ruby colour, with a coppery tinge of orange. Orange also on the nose – a zesty edge to the aroma, with liquorice and raspberry underneath. Very plummy on the palate, now with herbal notes of mint coming through. A much ‘slower’ wine – it evolves in the glass, the tannin creeping up on you and heading into a tight, dry finish. 90pts

Prunotto Barolo Classico 2019 is a wine I recognise from many years, but one thing to note in the current vintage is the paleness of colour that is a feature now. Back in the day these were much darker. The tannin of history is still a feature – it is quite heroic and unapologetic. Also perfume – this is intense, with more of everything. Oak, rosehip, salami, spices, cherry and vanilla. A good bitter chinotto note emerges, and the intensity remains quite solid through the palate, into a dry finish that lasts forever. 91pts

The only white wine today comes from their Estate in Umbria – Antinori Bramiti della Sala Chardonnay 2022. A bright straw yellow in the glass, with a shy but elegant nose. The flavours come alive on the palate – golden apple leads, with quince, lemon curd and pineapple emerging in a generous swathe. A lovely green sapidity shows with nettle, chamomile and a bite of minerality. It’s quite classy – probably the best italian Chardonnay I’ve tried. 93pts

Antinori Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2020 is an example of a wine that is ‘everyday’ drinking. I can imagine this with a simple pasta or a pizza. Dry, with a pulse of crunchy red berries and black plums. A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – this is what IGT was made for. Dry, with grippy tannin, a little earthiness, and then a softer finish. 89pts

Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana IGT 2020 is a set up in complexity. It feels like you’re in Chianti country now. Bitter dark chocolate and espresso notes amongst the dark cherry, black pepper, blackcurrant and sandalwood. A savoury, ‘sous bois’ tone features supple tannins, a spicy woodiness and a wedge of dried herbal flavours. Toothsome and serious, it would improve even more with some rich food, but even sitting here on a warm Monday mid-afternoon, it is a thrilling drop of wine. 93pts

Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2021 takes us into the heart of Chianti style and focus. This shows less oak of course, and has a floral note of lilac and orange above the blackcurrants, damson and blueberry aromas. Fruit-forward in style – the oak hides, framing the fruit, and the acidity holds sway, giving line through the palate. Again, I get a sliver of cacao in the smooth, lengthy finish. 91pts

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2020 is a difficult wine to source. A decision in recent years to just make the wine from the Tenuta Tignanello Estate (that also produces Tignanello and Solaia) has slashed volume, and improved quality through the roof. This one is serious. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. A floral bouquet, with fresh spring blossom as well as pot pourri. It tastes floral in your mouth. It is also quite old school – there is that leather and cigar box typicity of old Bordeaux, as well as dusty oak and a velvet texture throughout. Seamless and elegant, the finish is persistent, with pepper and spice lingering. 95pts

As the final wine, Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 2020 is poured. A blending of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. A dense, deep ruby red in the glass. Cassis, bitter cherry, smoked olives, red cherry and bramble, with rose petal and violet florals. At once lively and juicy, then rich and concentrated. Grippy tannin, with a slight metallic edge to the minerality, but with the bright acidity – it has a lot going on, in layers and waves of complexity. The finish has spice and a smooth finale. 95pts

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