Winery of the Month – FEB 2016
The Antinori Family has a history with wine dating back to 1385. While they have been well known for most of this time they became world renowned only relatively recently. In 1900 they purchased several estates around Tuscany, one of which, Tignanello, was to become maybe the best known Italian wine.
In the mid 19th century the Chianti blend was established as 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and 15% Malvasia. In the 20’s Niccolo Antinori started to experiment with some Cabernet in his wines. This, of course, meant you could not call it Chianti. In the 60’s this all came to a head. Chianti at this point was known more for the wicker encased fiasco bottle than for quality wine. The blend allowed for several different grapes and mandated the use of some white grapes. Piero Antinori along with a few other quality minded producers rebelled.
They made wines from Sangiovese and Cabernet which were wonderful but were only allowed to be called “vino di tavola” or table wine, the lowest quality designation for Italian wines. This rebellion of quality led to what we now call the “Super Tuscans”. The Antinori still make these wonderful wines, names you have probably heard of, Tignanello and Solaia.
These wines are always in demand and command some of the highest scores and prices in the wine world today. As a direct result of this quality revolution Chianti wines are highly thought of again and their popularity is on the rise. Today Chianti is allowed to be 100% Sangiovese as well as some small additions of local red varieties or cabernet and merlot. The white varieties are no longer permitted.
With the success the Antinori had in Chianti the family branched out. They now have properties in Bolgheri, Umbria, Hungary, and a joint venture with Chateau St. Michelle in Washington. Anytime you see the name Antinori on a label you know quality is in the bottle.
Castello Della Sala Bramito
This 100% Chardonnay comes from their Umbrian property Castello Della Salla. Balance is everything for this Chard as some of it sees wood while the rest ages in steel. This leads to a bright and vibrant wine with some subtle oak undertones. There is a light hint of butter from the partial malo-lactic fermentation but loads of apple and pineapple fruit. Regularly $22.99 Sale $16.99
Peppoli Chianti Classico
This is meant to be the early drinking easily approachable red in the portfolio. The wine is 90% Sangiovese with the remainder Syrah and Merlot. A small proportion is aged in small oak barrels with the rest aged in huge Slavonian oak barrels. This leads to a lively red with bright cherry and other red fruit flavors with slight vanilla and spice notes. Regularly $29.99 Sale $21.99
Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva
This wine is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet from the Tignanello estate. Here the wine is aged in small French Barrels for an extended period of time and then aged additionally a year in bottle before release. Lots of red fruit with some violet, vanilla, and licorice notes. Medium weight tannins add to the medium body to give a backbone to all the flavors. Regularly $49.99 Sale $39.99
This red is made in their Bolgheri estate. It is 65% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. This wine is larger than the others. You will taste both red and dark berry fruit in this one along with some sweet baking spice, vanilla, and coffee.
Regularly $29.99 Sale $21.99