Antinori is the most famous name in Italian wine and the influence of Piero Antinori in the last 25 years has been nothing short of revolutionary. Antinori's flagship wine, Tignanello, first appeared in 1971 and caused a sensation by its use of Cabernet Sauvignon in a Sangiovese blend and with its practice of ageing in small French barriques. Antinori was accused of vinous treachery and treason but soon barrique-aged blends of Sangiovese and Cabernet began appearing all across Tuscany.
Solaia is a Cabernet-dominated blend, which, like Tignanello, is from the Santa Cristina estate and is stunningly rich. Tenuta Belvedere is in Bolgheri on the Mediterranean coast . The Guado al Tasso estate is also part of the small, prestigious Bolgheri DOC zone which has been famous for its Rosé wines since the Seventies: along with the white wines made here, they were awarded the DOC in 1984, which was extended to the reds in 1994. The area is now best-known and admired for its outstanding red wines, the so-called Super-Tuscans.
This is a Tignanello vintage with wonderful purity of fruit on the nose first and foremost. Pure, unadulterated bramble, hedgerow fruit – exquisite! Behind that initial and impressive wave of fruit there are complex layers of nutmeg, black tea and Asian spices. This continues apace on the palate, and also where the Sangiovese really comes into play. The taut structure and fine tannins build neatly through the midpalate where more layers of hoi sin, dark coffee and subtle meatiness. The finish is textbook Tignanello, refined yet focussed and wonderfully long.