Marchesi Antinori Tignanello 2020
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Area: Toscana/ Tuscany
Tignanello was the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques, the first contemporary red wine blended with untraditional varieties (specifically Cabernet) and one of the first red wines in the Chianti Classico region that didn’t use white grapes. Tignanello is a milestone. It’s produced with a selection of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The idea at the basis of Tignanello moves from a research to obtain grapes with a greater concentration and soft tannins, thanks to interventions on the density of planting or through the practice of pruning and the selection of Sangiovese. In the wine-cellar the guidelines are directed towards producing a wine with a definite personality, through fermentation in wooden vats, soft pressing movements of the grapes, with malolactic fermentation carried out in barrels. The result is the Antinori’s Tignanello, characterized by many innovative primates in comparison with the tradition of this wine-growing area: being the first Sangiovese to be aged in barrels, the first red wine assembled with non-local varieties such as Cabernet and among the first red wines in Chianti not including a blend with white grapes, Tignanello is a spokesman for the modern Tuscan viticulture, produced exclusively in the best years and able to base its reputation on an absolute longevity for the great tastings of tomorrow.
Climate: Mild and dry winter weather marked the beginning of the 2020 growing season in Chianti Classico, only at the end of March did the area experience a brief cold spell. These climatic conditions prompted early bud break. Spring brought average rainfall and rather cool temperatures while the following summer months were hot, uninterrupted by extreme heat events and favored with brief periods of rain showers that provided grape clusters with perfect conditions for optimal growth and ripening. The month of September, when harvesting operations got underway, was defined by scattered light precipitation, especially at the end of the month, that allowed the fruit to complete phenolic maturity. The harvest window was an intense three weeks, from September 20th up until October 9th, picking began with Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc and was completed with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Vinification: This growing season’s climate trends challenged us to be focused and diligent both in the vineyards during harvesting activities and when grapes were brought to the cellar where sorting operations and initial winemaking processes were essential to achieve optimal results. During fermentation in truncated conical tanks, each individual must was macerated on the skins giving particular emphasis to preserving aromas, extracting color, and encouraging desirable tannins that were supple and elegant. Racking was performed after rigorous daily sampling and tasting. Once separated from the skins, the wine was transferred into small oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation to accentuate aromatic finesse and complexity. Aging took place in French and Hungarian oak barrels, partly new and partly second passage, for a total of 15 months: after an initial period of aging the lots separately, they were blended then completed barrel aging. Tignanello, made primarily with Sangiovese and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, underwent an additional 12-month period of aging in the bottle before being released.
Historical Data: Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, a parcel of some 140 acres (57 hectares) with limestone-rich soils and a southwestern exposure at 1150-1325 feets (350-400 meters) above sea level at the Tignanello estate. It was the first Sangiovese wine to be aged in small oak barrels, the first modern red wine to use such non-traditional varieties as Cabernet in the blend, and among the first red wines from the Chianti Classico area to be produced without white grapes. The wine, originally called “Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Tignanello” (a Chianti Classico Riserva from the Tignanello vineyard), was produced for the first time from a single vineyard parcel in 1970, when the blend contained 20% of Canaiolo and 5% of Trebbiano and Malvasia, both white grapes, and the wine aged in small oak barrels. In 1971 it became a Tuscan red table wine rather than a Chianti Classico, and was called Tignanello. In the 1975 vintage the percentage of white grapes was definitively eliminated from the blend. Ever since 1982, the blend has been the one currently used. Tignanello is bottled only in favorable vintages, and was not produced in 1972, 1973,1974, 1976, 1984, 1992, and 2002.
Tasting Notes: Intensely ruby red in color, Tignanello 2020 has exceptional aromatic complexity: notes of ripe red fruit especially cherries, strawberries and blackberries are accompanied by delicate floral hints of violets, mallow blossoms and roses. Its bouquet is completed by notes of roasted coffee and cocoa powder. The vibrant entry gives way to a caressing layered mouthfeel. The wine closes with spicy notes of pepper and licorice that merge with pleasant sensations of aromatic herbs for a fresh, lengthy finish.