Tignanello is a benchmark. Benchmark, definition: “A standard or point of reference against which similar things may be compared or assessed.” There simply is no quarreling with that pronouncement, nor the premise of my statement. Tignanello is on everyone’s radar. It’s crafted – yes crafted – in large quantity. It’s available all over the world and still, the quality is at an apex. There is never any compromise in standards. In fact, I’d suggest that quality has never been better. The 2009 was very good. The 2013 was fabulous and now comes 2015.
But how did we get here? In 1971, Piero Antinori grew increasingly restless with the DOCG rules that required blending of inferior red and white grapes with Sangiovese in order to label wine Chianti Classico or Chianti Classico Riserva. He was adamant in his belief that great Tuscan wines could be created by concentrating on Sangiovese. Steadfast in that conviction, Antinori shunned the regimen of the Consorzio and began bottling Tignanello which bore the lowly proclamation of “Tuscan Table Wine”. Since that time, Tignanello has been 80-85% Sangiovese with the remaining percentages devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. A new standard bearer was born.
For those of you that have been reading and following along via my Social Media networks, you are keenly aware my trumpeting of the 2015 vintage, how soon I was “tipped” off about it and how many reviews of entry level wines I’ve penned that have confirmed my suppositions. Now, comes a big boy.
What can I say? The 2015 Antinori Tignanello greatly impresses. I’ve already been fortunate enough to try this by the glass from a wine bar and also enjoy two bottles over the course of a prolonged dinner. What can I say? Below you see that I decanted the wine for an hour figuring it would be young and tight. Either it worked, or it didn’t need it. This is liquid silk wrapped in velvet. In the glass, the wine is a deep, dark violet with shimmering reflections throughout. You can also see the slow, viscous legs of the wine on the glass. The aromas are spellbinding. Loads of crushed berry, black plums, fresh flowers, leather, licorice, cypress herb, sunflower, mocha and coffee. But where the aromas end, the flavors begin. They echo the nose with full body, freshness, sapidity, and a wonderful juicy texture. It’s the texture of this wine that leaves one shaking your head. Pure silk. Refined, elegant, power. The elder statesmen. Fred Astaire in top hat and tails. Long, dusty, clay driven finish commands another sip. Tannins? They are so well integrated they seem absent. If there’s a knock here, it’s that this is drinking so well now I almost wonder how long it will age. Perhaps it’ll shut down and emerge as something different. I don’t know, but given my long history with Tigananello, I’ve no trepidation whatsoever about holding this until it’s 15 years old and enjoying the journey along the way. To me, this is the best Tignanello since the 1990. 98 points. Not cheap, but there are few better wines at this price point. Most command three figures. About $89. Widely available. Find this wine.