Allegra Antinori came to town this month. Her father Piero used to be a regular, and very popular, visitor. Their wine used to be listed everywhere. To a large extent it was THE quality Italian brand that was widely available. For the last while however the brand seems to have lacked vitality. Bakers dust seemed to be settle on bottles (in Superquinn) where none settled before - a sign of flagging sales? Perhaps. Or maybe the brand was taking a rest while others battled it out on price and volume? Then Allegra came to town. I was charmed. The wines impressed also.
Antinori Santa Cristina Campogrande Orvietto Classico DOC 2010
Great value for money at €11.49 Impressive blend (Procanico, Grechetto, Verdello, Drupeggio and Malvasia!) produces a soft and delightful summer time wine. I'd be very happy to use this as a 'teaching wine'.
Antinori Cervaro della Sala Umbria IGT 2009
Old fashioned style (some thought was slightly oxidised - I just reckoned a bit flat) where oak and fruit (Chardonnay and Grechetto) battle it out. Not to my liking. rrp €47.99
Antinori Santa Cristina Rosso Toscana IGT 2009
I have a fondness for Sangiovese. That said, the dominant character on this wine is not typical of the grape. No problems. Its a soft and 'caressing' wine that's very well made. Emphasis is on soft and ripe berries. VGV at €11.49
Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Superiore Riserva 2006
The 10% Cabernet Sauvignon shows well on both colour and palate. Once again Sangiovese has been (re)fashioned. Once again I have no problems because it works very well as a soft and approachable style of wine with soft tannins and long fruit flavours. This is a modern lifestyle type of a wine drinking beautifully. Sexy stuff. rrp €23.99
Antinori Santa Cristina le Maestrelle Toscana IGT 2009
60%Sangiovse, 20Merlot and 20Syrah. Really excellent. Soft and earthy with lots of dried leaf. Finish is a tad weak for me with the fruit washed out or perhaps asleep. Hopefully it's the latter as the nose and palate are reallly very good indeed.
Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2008
My wine of the flight. Traditional lines, rich and interesting. This has a rustic nature to it that allows it to stand out from the crowd. Really well structured and yet shows fruit well with endless nuances. Excellent value at €17.99
Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri DOC 2008
50%Cabernet Sauvignon, 30Merlot, 20Syrah plus others. Intensely youthful; nice touch of soft vanilla; rich berry - deep and sonorous; light spice; good finish; could do with a few edges; Extremely good Bolgheri example €23.99
Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana IGT 2007
This tests the nerves! Is it off or just intensely developed? Intensely developed it is! Rich old wood edges and a slightly unpleasant whiff throughout held together by a very impressive, big, and well chosen fruit. This needs a peat fire in the wintertime and perhaps a dram of Islay to round the evening off. rrp€17.99 55%Sangiovese, 25CS, 15M, 5Sy
Antinori Guado al Tasso Bolgheri DOC Superiore 2006
If it could be afforded (rrp€75.99) this would be one of the finest Bolgheri educator wines around. It is endlessly impressive. Fine edge of cedary fruit with leaf and earth nuances suggest a classic Bordeaux blend - which is what it almost is! 65CS, 30M, 5Sy. (They should grow some Syrah in Bordeaux....) Everything here is big on depth and breadth and impressively soft in style.
Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 2006
Slight tawny showing age and its 80% Sangiovese cepage (15CS + 5CF). Mind you its chocolate and truffle nuances help also! Marvellous soft depth and brilliant acidity makes this an incredable food wine. On its own the oaking is obtrusive but would be easily masked and balanced out by a well hung pheasant or some other game. rrp€69.99
Overall this was an excellent tasting. Our host was genial and allowed and trusted! (it doesn't always happen) us to get on with tasting and to ask questions as and when it suited us to do so. The room at the Cliff House on Stephens Green was bathed in a lovely soft natural light and the wines showed well.
Antinori well revisited.