Marchesi Antinori Solaia 2016
• Domaine: Solaia
• Appellation: Toscana IGT
• Classification: Tuscany, Italy
Solaia is the gold standard of Super Tuscans, and few wines have as sterling a reputation as this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese. Solaia has an incredible story behind it, and this renegade wine from the Antinori family is one of the Godfathers of the original Super Tuscan movement that took the world by storm in the 1970s and 1980s. For those who love a richly dense wine with a symphony of fruit, floral, and herbal aromas – look no further than this monumental wine.
The Chianti region experienced more than its fair share of troubles after World War II. Quality of the wines was low, but there were some vigneri who wanted more. Marchesi Antinori was such a man. Marchesi Antinori came from a long line of winemakers - since the 14th Century, to be exact. His family had experienced the highs and lows of crafting wine in Tuscany. Marchesi was one of the few who decided to break the rules of only using indigenous varietals – like Sangiovese - and use international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc instead. These international varietals were well-suited to the Tuscan climate and had their own unique expressiveness due to the richly distinctive Italian terroir just outside the Chianti district. Though the wine legislation in Tuscany balked at such an idea, and initially classified these wines as vino di tavola – or “table wine,” Marchesi would not let this deter him from producing a world-class wine, powerful enough to withstand the competition from France. Through the success of their flagship wines, Tignanello and Solaia, the region of Tuscany became recognized as a global winemaking leader and eventually, the “Super Tuscans” earned the status of being classified as IGT – Indicazione Geografica Tipica - wines.
The sunniest part of Tiganello’s estate is where the Solaia vineyard rests. Only the choicest parcels are reserved from the best vineyard. The grapes are tended to with utmost care and precision prior to being vinified in this unique blend. The vines rest on a steeply sloping hillside mixed with limestone and schist soils. There is a deep bed of clay, and the vines are able to draw water from them during drought-ridden years. They enjoy warmer temperatures during the day, and cooler temperatures at night. In addition to international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, some indigenous Sangiovese vines are planted at the property. The Antinori family brings a mixture of traditional Italian know-how with a spirit of innovation and Solaia is fermented conical wood vats to preserve the wine’s softness. After, Solaia is aged in French oak barriques. The goal is to create a wine with power and sweet, well-integrated tannins.
Solaia is one of the tastemakers in Italy and considered one of the most influential wines to come out of that region. The wine cemented the Antinori family's reputation as one of the leaders of Italian viticulture. They are now considered one of the more prolific wine producing families, recently setting their sights on Napa and producing world-class wines including the Antica A26 Chardonnay and their single vineyard Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Solaia is considered by Decanter Magazine to be, “a cellaring classic,” Solia is a benchmark wine with great length, intensity and ageability.
"Like Tignanello, the 2016 Solaia is a wine of extraordinary nuance and finesse. Super-ripe blackberry, plum jam, espresso, menthol, licorice and sweet spice build as the sublime 2016 shows off its personality and breeding. The 2016 somehow manages to be incredibly deep and also light on its feet. Sweet floral and spice notes add the closing shades of nuance to an exotic, beguilingly beautiful Solaia endowed with an eternal finish and mind-blowing beauty. The 2016 is an epic Solaia. That's all there is to it." - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com Ratings: 99, Drink: 2022-2046
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