~ The new ultra modern architectural wonder of cantina Antinori ~

There is no question that the Antinori family is iconic across generations.  Their history precedes them and arguably they produce two of Italy’s greatest wines in Solaia and Tignanello.  However, while the two Super Tuscans are perhaps the most well known,  Antinori crafts two wonderful Chianti Classico Riservas that demand as much consideration.

Not long ago,  I extolled the virtues of one of those wines;  Badia a Passignano.  Today, we’re focusing on the other one;  Tenute Marchese.   When I penned this article,  I said that I’ve enjoyed this wine much more in the past.  This is the perfect example. 

~ Piero Antinori with his three daughters ~

The 1997 Tenute Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva lives up to everything this regal family has come to represent.  1997 was a warm, ripe vintage and many of the wines charmed early with lots of forward, fleshy fruit at the potential expense of reduced complexity once they aged.  This wine has matured gracefully to represent the best elements of both.

We decanted the wine for 60 minutes to remove a substantial sediment.  On the nose, the taster is greeted with lots of ripe, bottle sweet cherry notes that mingle with sweet pipe tobacco, worn leather, and mushroom.  It’s an unmistakeable aroma that only properly aged wine can possess.   

In the mouth, the wine is a graceful, feminine red, almost in a restrained aristocratic way.  Medium bodied, with soft, velvety flavors of cherries, fennel, dried herbs and warm earth that carry through to a soft balanced finish.  The tannins are completely integrated.  This wine may be a year or two past prime for readers that prefer a more structured, tannic wine.  However, this is as much an intellectual experience as it is sensory.   92 points.  About $34 upon release.  Current vintages sell for about the same price.
~ Still an amazingly youthful color to this 18 year old Chianti Riserva ~


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