~ This image is great – it illustrates how the ancient Romans used the Oculus of the Pantheon as a sun dial ~

Rome charms in so many ways.  The historian in me marvels at the ancient city and gets goose bumps thinking about the footsteps we’re following as we traverse the old quarter.  It’s a city I never tire of; despite the heat and the occasional crowds.  Such was the case on my most recent visit.


~ The Fontana Trevi is one of my favorite places to hang out. A spritz, gelato or caffe is all I need to enjoy 30 or so minutes of people watching. Even if some of their behavior makes me cringe. Still, coming here late in the evening when it’s much quieter is a joy ~

For wine lovers, an additional benefit to the city is that it’s a cosmopolitan treasure unlike any other. In addition to the shopping, the wine and food scenes are vibrant.  On my most recent trip, I was yet again surprised to see (why am I still?) the very reasonable pricing on some amazing wine lists.  In my Ritorno a Roma article, I touched on Rampolla.  Today, Tignanello.

Tignanello is a Tuscan icon.  Whether the wine appeals to you is irrelevant.  It’s place in the history of Tuscan wine making cannot be minimized. Although I’ll be the first to lament the increasing price for the wine here at home – I can recall paying $34 for the 1991 on release – the quality has never been compromised.

Tignanello Ciccheti

~ Walking through the cobble stoned streets of the city makes one work up an appetite! These arancini were the perfect late afternoon snack to match with a Spritz ~

Ristorante Da Fortunato al Pantheon is located, well, right near the Pantheon.  In fact, it’s the only restaurant where you can dine al fresco in sight of the great temple.  That might suggest to some that the menu caters to tourista, but that is not the case. Authentic, reasonably priced and delicious has been the mantra for decades.  In 2019 the owners opened an amazing wine bar adjacent to the restaurant that has about 100 wines “on tap” for tasting.  Sadly, this year that still remained shuttered because of the pandemic.

Roma and Tignanello

~ The view of the Piazza Venezia from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, about 1/2 way up the Vittorio Emmanuele Monument ~

Da Fortunato didn’t disappoint.  To accompany assorted antipasti, various pastas and some amazing Saltimbocca, I couldn’t resist trying the newest release of Tignanello.

The 2019 Antinori Tignanello is nearly black in the glass.  At this young stage, no question the color is being impacted by the Cabernet.  However, at the moment, this is singing a Sangiovese symphony. From the glass, aromas of black cherry, sweet pipe tobacco, toasted spices and fresh flowers are very attractive.  On the palate this portrays itself as pure silk.  I say, “portrays” because although the mouthfeel is super smooth, there are substantial dusty tannins on the back end.  Still, it’s surprising how approachable this is.  Big, bold flavors of crushed black berry, sweet fennel, cigar tobacco and pulverized clay are long and delicious.  Maybe it will shut down soon? Maybe it’s because – as I’m often reminded – “Everything tastes better in Italy” – or maybe it’s just that good.  Either way, there were no complaints at the dinner table that night.  Like the kid choosing Barkley to play hoops, this is an easy 97 points.  Find this wine.

~ Tignanello remains a stylish blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc ~

Find Tig. in the US if you must using the link above.  But it’s much cheaper in Italy.  Fortunately, my RusticTuscanyTour travelers will get a chance to find some with me next month!


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