Wine Star: Piero Antinori

The Chianti, Brunello and super Tuscan legend shared his mission, and the last of his 1997 Solaia

Wine Star: Piero Antinori
Tuscan vintner Piero Antinori (Rick Wenner)
Oct 26, 2021

Given Piero Antinori’s 55 years at the helm of his family’s historic Tuscan wine group, Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson introduced him to the Wine Experience audience as someone with a “unique perspective.”

Antinori’s many decades of experience are informed by 26 generations of family history. He quipped that six centuries in the wine business showed a certain “lack of imagination.” But he also noted that over that long history, “the last half-century has been the most exciting”—a time in which Italy’s producers increasingly shifted from emphasizing volume to focusing on quality.

“I call it a renaissance, but really it’s a revolution,” he said. “I consider myself lucky, because I happened to be in the business during this very exciting period of change.”

Antinori’s comments humbly underplayed his role in that “revolution.” During his tenure, the Antinori brand expanded beyond the family’s native Tuscany to both established and emerging regions in Italy, as well as abroad, including the United States and Chile, pushing the industry forward at every step.

Antinori also brought with him his 1997 Toscana Solaia (97 points, $115 on release, Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 2000), a fine example of the family’s exploratory spirit and commitment to excellence. From Tuscany’s “golden vintage,” Antinori generously poured what he noted were, “the very last bottles,” of the 1997 Solaia.

“Solaia was a wine born in 1978, by chance,” said Antinori, explaining that when the family’s Tignanello estate yielded some extra, high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon that harvest, they decided to vinify and blend it as an experiment.

“Solaia has a style which is a bit more international than other Tuscan wines, but always keeping the Tuscan heritage,” said Antinori, adding, “Great but simple at the same time; able to go right to your heart and give great emotion.”

More ny-wine-experience-2021

See More

It’s a Chef with a Plan—It’s Superman

Nov 15, 2021

A Legacy of Giving: The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation

Nov 15, 2021

It’s a Family Affair: 40 Years of the Wine Experience

Nov 15, 2021

A Very Personal Experience

Nov 15, 2021

Wine Stars: Il Palagio’s Trudie Styler and Sting

Nov 5, 2021

People ny-wine-experience-2021 wine-experience ws-events Cabernet Sauvignon Italy Tuscany

You Might Also Like

Sommelier Roundtable: Pairings for Fall Desserts

Sommelier Roundtable: Pairings for Fall Desserts

Seven somms from Restaurant Award winners share beverage picks fit for the sweets of the …

Nov 19, 2021
Napa’s Nashville Newcomer

Napa’s Nashville Newcomer

Farmer and financier Gaylon Lawrence Jr. scooped up Heitz and other notable Napa properties …

Dec 15, 2021
Team Lawrence

Team Lawrence

Profiles of the vineyards and winemakers making the mark

Dec 15, 2021
The Story of an Iconic Cab

The Story of an Iconic Cab

How a quiet handshake led to Napa’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon, now legendary

Dec 15, 2021
The Right Right-Hand Man

The Right Right-Hand Man

Carlton McCoy has adapted to Napa, but he’s also shaking it up

Dec 15, 2021
Wine Talk: Kevin O'Leary

Wine Talk: Kevin O'Leary

The investor and Shark Tank star is also a wine lover and has partnered with one of …

Nov 17, 2021