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james suckling uncorked

An Antinori Day in Tuscany


Posted: Sep 19, 2007 1:53pm ET

Today was a new day in Tuscany. It was bright and very windy. A cold wind came out of the north and dried up everything. There are still rain clouds around but they are blowing all over Tuscany.

I spent the day with the Antinori family at their Chianti Classico estate, Tignanello. It’s where they make the famous super Tuscan red with the same name, as well as Solaia. I tasted some of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes being harvested and they were full of sugar with thin and ripe skins. They were tiny, too. This is all good news for some serious wines in 2007. They hadn’t started harvesting the Sangiovese yet. That should start in a week or so.

I was there with the video team from our New York office, making some videos with Piero Antinori, the patriarch of the family firm, and his three daughters – Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia. I think you are going to like what they say. But I don’t want to spoil it.

Piero and his head winemaker Renzo Cotarella were very happy with the harvest so far. Renzo thinks that it could turn out to be “another 1997” if the weather holds out for another two weeks.

“Fingers crossed,” I said to him, though I have to admit that I am a little worried about the weather. It seems so changeable. Thank God I don’t make wine here!

Piero also poured a bottle of 2005 Guado al Tasso, which will be released next year. It is clearly outstanding. I loved the focused, fresh and bright currant and berry aromas and super racy and refined tannins. Renzo said that the harvest was difficult in Bolgheri in 2005 because of the rain in September, but the wines came out very well after a selection of the best grapes that arrived. Should be fun to taste it for the magazine in a blind tasting next year. What I taste so far from Bolgheri in 2005 is very impressive.

We also had a bottle of 1982 Solaia at lunch. What a treat. The wine showed wonderfully. And it was 25 years old. Piero was super happy. Here is my non-blind tasting note:

1982 Antinori Solaia: Good ruby garnet color. Ripe aromas of currants, raisins and leather turn to spices. Full and layered, with ripe tannins but slightly angular in the end. Long and minerally. It was very fresh and fruity just after decanting but within 30 minutes it began to fade. Showing well. 91 points, non-blind.

Michael Desteffano
USA —  September 20, 2007 1:42pm ET
James,Were did you have lunch at? Also, any word on how the new Antinori cellars and offices are coming along in Bargino?
Ralph Michels
The Netherlands —  September 21, 2007 2:23am ET
Hi James, the video link does not point to the Antinori video. Where can we find it?

Best, Ralph
James Suckling
 —  September 21, 2007 3:23am ET
The video is not done yet. The film crew just left my office in Tuscany today. We had lunch at the villa on the terrace in Tignanello...
Dr Patrick Frenchick
Germany —  September 21, 2007 5:20am ET
Hey James, I read the aritcle on the 2003 Barolo's, will you be blogging anything on them? Or are you too busy enjoying the Tuscan autumn?If I wanted a Barolo to drink in 4-5 yrs what would you chose a 2001 or 2003? Thanks
James Suckling
 —  September 21, 2007 9:39am ET
Patrick. There will be a report in the fall in the magazine. Busy, busy. I would go for the 2003. The 2001s are a little firm and certainly have more acidity. But make sure you pick a top producer in 2003.
Connie Necel
Ridgewood,NJ —  September 21, 2007 1:26pm ET
James, I am going to be in Tuscany in the Spring, can a wine consultant have lunch and a tasting at the Antinori vinyards?
Conor Twomey
Ireland —  December 6, 2007 11:29am ET
Hi James,I purchased 18 bottles of 2004 Tignanello from a well known wine shop in Montepulciano a couple of months ago when I was there on holidays. I had the wines shipped to Ireland.Upon opening the packaging some of the bottles have different capsules.1) Red capsule with gold symbol on side with antinori stamped on top2) Red capsule with black symbol with Tignanello on top in blackWould it be possible that two different capsules are used?Thanks in advance,Conor

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