The writing on the scroll leaves an indelible mark upon the hand of civilization.
Solaia, “Sunny One” in Tuscan dialect, is a direct tribute to one of the best exposed vineyards on the Tenuta Tignanello estate; Antinori’s flagship that lies within the heart of Chianti Classico between Greve and Val di Pesa. It is some of the prettiest wine terrain I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, each rolling hill an incubator of perfect grapes seemingly better than the last. The Tignanello estate is Antinori’s crown jewel. Through his own words: “Solaia is harvested from the best grapes, in the best vineyard on the sunniest part of the Tignanello hill. The rest is passion, attention and hard work.”
|~ The pristine Solaia vineyard looks like something out of the Sound of Music ~|
Solaia 1999 is a blend of 75% Cabernet, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc. Harvesting occurred late in 1999, with the grapes for Solaia being brought to the winery during the first week of October. After fermentation in open topped oak vessels, the wine was barrique aged for 14 months – approximately 2 months longer than average due to what winemaker Renzo Cotarella called “the evident structure of the vintage.”
I last tasted this wine in 2012 and it has improved since then. The current bottle was double decanted to remove a large coffee grind like sediment. It pours a deep, dark purple with black reflections just past its 15th birthday. The aroma from the wine is spellbinding. Dark berry fruit, black plums, flowers, lavender, sage, sweet tobacco…..all are present in harmony with each component in the blend seemingly contributing to the complex bouquet of the wine.
The flavors of the wine are no less compelling. Rich, ripe flavors are impeccably balanced by juicy acidity. The tannins in the wine have mellowed considerably and all that’s left is fruit wrapped in velvet that pops in your mouth like Freshen-Up gum. Black plums, coffee, a ripe floral note, baked earth and spice meld into one seamless experience. This is drinking so well right now but will clearly withstand further cellaring. 96 points. About $90 upon release. With Grilled Delmonico steaks topped with sauteed mushrooms, homemade Arancini, and Broccoli Rabe.
|~ Flagship from Firenze ~|
December 29, 2014