If Italy were to install a royal family, surely the Antinori’s would be the top contenders. Having been in the industry since 1385 and owning some of the best wineries situated in major producing regions they are responsible for some of Italy’s best wines each year. The Tuscan estate brought us the now famous Tignanello and Solaia Super Tuscans, but the other wines they produce are equally engaging.
A fragrant and elegant wine from the best performing blocks each year. Shows cherries, earth, rose petals and rustic edge. 10% Cabernet helps the palate gain its firm tannins with fresh acid and a great length. The fruit on the palate carries the structure well. Tasting and experience tells me this wine will reward a further stint in the cellar (10 years easily).
Sangiovese – Widely cultivated across Italy from Emilia-Romagna to Campania and producing as much wine as Barbera. A wide range of clones and hugely diverse growing conditions sees the variety represent easy drinking ‘quaffers’, all the way to benchmarks such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Sangiovese di Romagna and Morellino di Scansano.
Chianti Classico DOCG – Italy’s most famous wine region. Beautiful lightly wooded rolling hills covered in vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees. The reds from Chianti Classico received its greatest boost in quality from being awarded the much more stringent DOCG rating.
Central Italy – When most people think of Central Italy they think of Tuscany. Not surprisingly because Chianti is an ocean of vineyards within the winegrowing region of Central Tuscany. Chianti produces more than 750000 hectolitres of wine each year. Tuscany’s wine history starts somewhere in the 8th-5th Century BCE when it was part of Etruria. Vernaccia from San Gimignano and reds from Montepulciano were known and loved before the Renaissance. The Tuscany we know now started in 19th Century with Chianti gaining the ascendancy. Brunello di Montalcino debuted in 1888 and the Super Tuscans took shape in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Beyond Tuscany there are the magically places of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Umbria. Each place has its own history and personality that really deserve a night of their own. Better still, a few nights in situ.