We weren’t that far from the restaurant. In fact, it was only about a 20 minute drive from Campochiarenti as the crow flies. But, as has often been said, the crow rarely flies straight in Italy. We were on our way to a lovely Ristorante lying within sight of the Abbey at Badia a Passignano when a detour waylaid us.
With the intrepid, and dare I say fearless, Daniele behind the wheel, we furtively made our way through the magical vineyards of Antinori to arrive in time for our 8PM reservation. With the night waning, the Abbey was unfortunately locked for the evening. However, it’s majesty was still impressive.
Also known as the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, the abbey dates from the early 890’s. Over the centuries, it has been refurbished and altered several times. In the 20th century, it was restored to a small, cloistered monastic order. Centuries of frescoes, parchment manuscripts and other historical works reside within its secluded walls. It’s majesty is almost mystical.
The Abbey’s vineyards lie just 3 kilometers south of Antinori’s Tenuta Tignanello Estate. Although the property is an expansive 223 hectares, only 65 are planted with vines. Sangiovese is king here as it accounts for nearly 100% of the estate plantings. The area and the vineyards are ancient. In 1983, a one thousand year old vitis vinifera plant was discovered on the property.
The 2016 Antinori Badia a Passignano Gran Selezione is a deep, shimmering ruby with violet highlights. The aromas from the wine are fragrant and wonderful. Ripe crushed berries, fresh flowers, new leather, toasted spice and hints of vanilla are woven together elegantly. Fruit driven and ripe on the palate, this is fresh and juicy throughout. Wild berries, tobacco and Tuscan herbs create a delicious, sapid sensation. I simply love this and will be securing more.
The 2016 was initially crushed and fermented in stainless steel but then racked to barrels where it completed malolactic fermentation. Each vineyard block was kept separate during the entire vinification and aging process and only blended together based upon tastings just before bottling. Interestingly, barrel aging included mainly Hungarian oak, though a small percentage of French oak was also used.
The 2016 is 100% Sangiovese. Salute!