In the heart of Chianti Classico sits Antinori’s Tenuta Tignanello estate. It’s the unquestioned heart of the Antinori empire and sits not far from the family’s palatial residence in Florence. The estate boasts some of the most advantageous vineyard exposition in Tuscany and stretches over 780 acres, of which slightly more than 300 are devoted to vines.
Of those, two vineyard parcels are exceptionally regarded: Vigneto Tignanello (145 acres in size) and Vigneto Solaia (50 acres in size). Since the mid to late 1970’s, Piero Antinori has been pushing the customary boundaries of dogma and in many ways, the wines that hail from these vineyards have done more to shape the Tuscan vinous landscape than any other in Tuscany.
I have covered many vintages of Solaia on these pages. Most recently, this Retrospective Tasting Report covered 5 vintages from 1995 to 2005. There are also several data points on the 1997 herein but I was surprised to discover that I had never before reported on the 2009. The 1990 and 1985 were legendary wines for me, coming in at 100 points and 98 points respectively. The 2009, fits right between.
The 2009 Antinori Solaia is a breathtaking red. By Solaia standards, this 10 year old Super Tuscan is a baby. In fact, I tend to believe that Solaia only begins to show its best at 15 years of age. However, generalizations are just that and so I figured since 2009 was a pretty warm vintage, this might be reflected in the wine. I was correct.
Deep violet in color, the 2009 packs explosive aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, espresso and mint. It’s one of the most miraculous noses I’ve ever smelled on a wine. Persistent, seamless yet with laser like delineation. I gave it to my wife and she said “it smells like an After 8 candy”. I could sit there all day swirling this. Wow!
On the palate, the purity of the black fruit is amazing. So fresh, so lively, it’s like biting into a black grape. Robust flavors of black fruit, bitter chocolate, pipe tobacco, mint and smashed stones are concentrated, long and juicy. Powerful structure with tannins, acids and fruit in perfect balance, this manages to emphasize elegance above all. I wish I had a case of this. It’s one of the best Solaia I’ve ever tasted. 99 points. Please try one if you’ve got them. A bargain when first released around $11o. Alas, it’s a tad more now. Find this wine.
Why didn’t I buy more?