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

Creative Force

Creative Force

Dave Phinney, the mind behind The Prisoner Wine Co. and other innovative projects, keeps …

Jun 30, 2022
Mare Island: Plans and Promise

Mare Island: Plans and Promise

Adjacent to the coastal city of Vallejo, California, a tiny peninsula has seen little life …

Jun 30, 2022
In the Phinney Spirit

In the Phinney Spirit

Savage & Cooke Distillery brings new life to Mare Island as a craft beverage destination

Jun 30, 2022
Phinney and Friends

Phinney and Friends

Dave Phinney's collaborations beyond wine include a Bourbon and tea venture with Scottie …

Jun 30, 2022
Capitalist Kevin and Doomsday Dan

Capitalist Kevin and Doomsday Dan

Italian Grapes in California, Part 3: Mount Etna meets Sonoma and a Napa winemaker finds …

May 13, 2022
Elevating the Wine Experience in Sedona

Elevating the Wine Experience in Sedona

Cara De Lavallade on broadening Enchantment Resort’s wine program, championing Arizona wine …

May 10, 2022