Antinori wines from the heart of the Chianti region, like those cultivated at the Antinori wineries of Tenuto Tignanello, Badia a Passignano or Pèppoli, bear witness to the rich tradition of the Sangiovese variety. This grape is primarily grown on the slopes of the traditional vineyards mentioned above, along with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.
We have the Sangiovese grape with its high tannin and acid content to thank for many of Tuscany's most popular red wines. Which means: without Sangiovese, there would be no Chianti Classico! The grape variety, with a minimum proportion of 80 %, constitutes the main or sole component of the wine, which epitomises the red wine region of Tuscany like no other.
The Pèppoli and Badia a Passignano, two wineries with centuries of tradition, both exclusively produce Chianti Classico: the Pèppoli Chianti Classico DOCG and the Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, made from a selection of the best grapes from the Badia a Passignano Abbey vineyard. Both are characterised by a ruby red shade, intense highlights of berries as well as particularly velvety tannins on the palate. They are typical examples of their variety.
This vineyard in the centre of the Chianti region was and continues to be the "laboratory" of the Antinori family. This is where new paths were taken, both in the field of cultivation and in wine making. This is also where the so-called Supertuscans originated.
Piero Antinori, the patron of the Antinori family, made it his goal in the 1970s to elevate Tuscan wine to a new level of quality. To achieve this, however, it was necessary for him to break away from the strict rules of Chianti production. Antinori reduced the then prescribed proportion of white grape varieties for the newly created first Supertuscan, named after the Tignanello vineyard. He later did without it entirely. And he did something that no one in Italy had dared to do before him: he was the first to mature the Sangiovese in barrique.
Still to this day, Tignanello Toscana IGT, made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes, is considered one of the most renowned wines worldwide – and rightly so, as its deep ruby red is just as much a delight on the eye as the silky texture of the tannins and the lively, complex finish are on the palate.
In addition to Tignanello, the Antinori family also developed a second world-famous Supertuscan – the Solaia. This red wine, also named after its vineyard of origin, is pressed mainly from the French grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well as a proportion of Sangiovese grapes, in contrast to its counterpart.
The Antinori family's largest vineyard, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, covering 320 ha, is located in the Bolgheri DOC wine-growing region. The mild maritime climate as well as the sandy, limestone and clay soils of the region are what give the wines their incomparable character. The vineyards are mainly populated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot as well as Vermentino Nero and Bianco vines.
Along with a particularly aromatic, straw-yellow white wine from the autochthonous Vermentino grape variety, the Vermentino Bolgheri DOC, and a fruity rosé, the Scalabrone Bolgheri Rosato, there are also excellent red wines from this winery.
These include single-variety wines such as Matarocchio Bolgheri DOC Superiore – a single vineyard wine made from the Cabernet Franc variety – or a single-variety Merlot called Cont'Ugo Bolgheri DOC.
In addition to these, however, the Antinori wine-growing area in Livorno is best known for its outstanding cuvées, including Il Bruciato Bolgheri DOC, consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, or the excellent Guado al Tasso Bolgheri DOC Superiore, consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, plus a sprinkling of Petit Verdot. A comparison is often made between this wine and the great Supertuscans of the region. Its full-bodied character and high complexity regularly places it among the highest-rated wines in the Antinori family.
Another of Italy's smallest red wine regions is located in Tuscany, not far from Siena: Brunello di Montalcino. This region is named after the Brunello grape variety, which is actually a clone of Sangiovese, which is very common in Tuscany.
However, in contrast to Chianti Classico, Brunello is always single-varietal and one hundred percent "Sangiovese", so to speak. The Pian delle Vigne vineyard run by the Antinori family has been producing single-varietal Brunello since the 1990s now. The maturation in large barrels renders the Brunello wines of the Pian delle Vigne – such as the Pian delle Vigne Rosso di Montalcino DOC or the Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino DOCG – especially fruity and fresh reds.
The La Braccesca winery, which has been owned by the Antinori family since 1990 and is located in the heart of the Montepulciano region, boasts the perfect climate for growing Syrah. This is where Antinori produces the two Syrahs Achelo Cortona DOC and Bramasole, as well as the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the main component of which must again be Sangiovese. These include the Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG and the Vigneto Santa Pia Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva.
The Antinori family has also been producing white wines in Tuscany for a number of years. The Tenuta Monteloro winery, for example, turns out superb growths from the Riesling and Pinot Bianco varieties. The Le Mortelle winery in the Tuscan region of Maremma also produces an excellent white wine, which is made from the Tuscan grape varieties Vermentino and Ansonica in combination with the established grape variety of Viognier: the Vivia Maremma Toscana IGT. The Bassa Maremma region, however, is most famous for its exceptional red wines, which include the Ampio delle Mortelle Toscana IGT or the Poggio alle Nane DOC Maremma Toscana, both cuvées made from the Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grape varieties, but also the Botrosecco DOC Maremma Toscana, consisting of the two grape varieties last mentioned.