The Wine Encounter lined up 5 remarkable wines from Antinori, the celebrated Tuscan producer with a tradition of winemaking that goes back 26 generations. This tasting was interesting because a Chardonnay and Cabernet from Antinori’s Napa project—called Antica—were included, along with three Tuscan Estate wines from Italy. The Anticas were a fascinating blend of old world style with new world fruit.
Antica Chardonnay Napa 2009
Sourced from Napa’s Atlas Peak, this wine is a study in structure and balance. Floral notes with stone fruit on the nose introduce bracing minerality and plenty of flavor on the lingering finish. Subtle oak and judicious malolactic fermentation provide heft and soft buttery notes that never dominate. $35 at release.
Antica Cabernet Napa 2008
Fresh but earthy, this finely-shaped Atlas Peak wine shows black current and spice with background layers of coffee. Nothing overwhelms. No dissonance, no conflict, just elegance in a bottle. $55 at release.
The Italian offerings were equally impressive
Santa Cristina Sangiovese Tuscany 2009
Concentrated black cherry and earth dominate. The 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet in the blend give this wine a round, plump mouthfeel seldom found in an inexpensive Sangiovese. Very approachable. A bargain at $12 at release.
Villa Antinori Toscana 2007
A Super Tuscan that blends sangiovese (55%), Cabernet (25%), Merlot (15%), and syrah (5%). A complex nose of berries, spice, and chocolate with characteristic Italian acidity and a soft finish. $24 at release.
From the justly famous vineyard that helped launch the Super Tuscan revolution in 1971, the 2007 Tignanello is rich and complex with blueberry, chocolate, and coffee notes, a clean, fresh mid-palate, and a silky finish. 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet, and 5% Cabernet Franc. $99 at release.