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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes Oregon, Washington, California Zinfandel and Rhône-style reds, and U.S. sparkling wines.
Tim Fish

A Super Tuscan that Won’t Break the Bank

Antinori Toscana Villa Antinori Red 2006

Tim Fish
Posted: January 10, 2011

It isn’t hard to find a good Italian restaurant in Northern California where I live, but other parts of the country don’t have it so easy. My mom lived in a small town, and in her final years she liked nothing more than to take a drive up the road to Olive Garden. And I had no complaints. The food was always tasty, if on the salty side, and it wasn’t like we had better alternatives. I stuck with the basic pastas and filled up on salad.

It helped that Villa Antinori Toscana was usually on the wine list and sold by the glass. The wine is Antinori’s idea of a value-oriented super Tuscan, blending Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It blends Old World acidity and earthiness with New World texture and richness.

I hadn’t tried the wine in a few years and recently saw a bottle of the 2006 on the grocery shelf and bought it. I wasn’t disappointed. It was supple and slightly jammy but had excellent structure and fine tannins, with lots of smoky plum and fresh licorice notes. I gave it 90 points, non-blind. The suggested retail is $24, but I found it for $19, perhaps because the 2007 has just been released.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Antinori Toscana Villa Antinori Red 2006 (90, $24).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for recently rated Top Values among Italian reds.

Robert Greenwald
Atlanta, GA, USA —  January 10, 2011 6:53pm ET
This wine is a staple in our home: a great value for a super Tuscan, very easy to drink, and a compliment to most Italian dishes. I recently purchased a case of 2006 Antinori Toscana Red at Costco for under $18 per bottle.
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  January 10, 2011 7:38pm ET
Great price Robert. Thanks for reading.
Louis Robichaux
Highland Village, Texas —  January 11, 2011 12:41am ET
Would love to see a story in a future edition of WS comparing and discussing non-blind ratings of aged wines to their original blind ratings issued upon release. You nailed this one, but would others be as consistent?
Jeremiah Morehouse
Sacramento CA —  January 11, 2011 5:14pm ET
I agree with you Tim, very easy indeed. I have been a restaurant Sommelier for years now and it is an easy sell to say Antinori and Super Tuscan in the same sentence with a marginal price tag.
Have you had any of the wines from Rocca di Frassinello in Maremma? They are a project between Lafite Rothschild and Castilina Castellare from Chianti. Their 3rd label Poggio alla Guardia I find to be a great wine for the price, and I remember back in October I think Bevmo was doing it online for their 5 cent sale!
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  January 11, 2011 6:31pm ET
Jeremiah, it has been a while. I'll have to grab a bottle, thanks for the suggestion.
Jeremiah Morehouse
Sacramento CA —  January 12, 2011 6:12pm ET
but of course Tim, much like you, much of my job as a Sommelier is helping people discover, and rediscover, great wines. Petra Ebo is another one that is good value, but probably a bit harder to track down stateside, but i know its out there. Cheers!
Ray Famiani
Kingsford, MI —  January 13, 2011 8:37am ET
Antinori is part of my family tree, Mother's maiden name, so I have many Antinori labels in my cellar but I agree with you on Toscana being the best bargain. The others are excellent but too pricy for everyday consumption.
Mark Horowitz
Brooklyn, USA —  January 14, 2011 10:06am ET
Just cut and past the name and vintage of the wine into Google Shopping and find that several merchants sell the wine for $15.99-16.99. What a great suggestion for an affordable, drinkable, everyday wine. We need more sub-$20 wines like this and fewer three-figure cult wines!
Joseph Bruno
Atlanta, GA —  February 26, 2011 11:28pm ET
Excellent wine from a consistent producer. Antinori is the Ferarri of winemaking. Great price for the quality.

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