Antinori is a venerable family wine company of 26 generations established in 1385, in times when Chianti was rustically made, probably in earthen ware fermenters like todays amphorae.
The family’s new subterranean winery, Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Bargino, a ten year building odyssey I believe, works on gravity. All things with the pre-history wine styling in mind should.
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So inside this underground collossus there are logically layered caverns of processing and ageing rooms (wine, olive oil and vin santo), fittingly paved in terracotta tiling, 44,000 square metres of space I believe.
It looks swish, bright in aspect, purposefully dull in lighting but cleverly the spots radiate light to keep visitors in the mood to view barrels, art works and light spaces.
Our local-born guide and tasting host Eliza Trambusti relates that the Antinori family call this visitors’ haven their temple in good Roman God’s fashion.
There is no air conditioning as architect Marco Casimonti from Archea Associates designed it to be eco friendly and wines store gently around 15 oC.
Alberia Antinori, family company CEO speaks to our poured drinks, 18 metres below the ground, from Montalcino and Chianti Classico, places in this family’s blood for six centuries.
First family wine was:
Pian delle Vigne 2014, Rosso di Montalcino, 13%, (baby Brunello) belies the travellers’ expectations; the sangiovese grosso grape colour is not deep like Aussie shiraz, but has red in the heart of the glass, amber at the edges (the nail), some older ones go colourless.
It’s about the taste: savoury and drying, no fruitiness here, its austere; waits for you to chew the salty, crunchy baked pizza bread, schiaciatta .
It has long flavours, more dryness then it slips into softness. Again adjust your tasting technique from Oz shiraz to Localita Pian delle Vigne growing sangiovese grosso near the hill town of Montalcino my friends.
Villa Antinori 2012, Chianti Classico Riserva, 12.5%, now unfiltered, has been made since 1928.
It has the typicity of that sour citrus and almond aroma (how new world tasters peg sangiovese), traditional old large (2500 litre) barrel aging aromas including brett, then savoury and gripping tannin. It’s 10% cabernet sauvignon, and has 30 months cask age.
Perfect with big, fat, al dente pappadelle splashed with wild boar ragu that drown the rabid effects of the natural grippy tannins of the wine. That’s Tuscany!
Badia a Passignano 2011, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 14.5%, is the newer, next tier Chianti classification of longer matured elite 100% sangiovese, made in the nearby Tignanello estate regularly past visited by Uncorked travellers.
Badia is an old monastery. The surrounds are Antinori sangiovese, 23 clones having been identified so far. Chianti first recognised itself in 1716 so the red grape gene pool here is quite diverse and capable of interesting wine.
Wines only age 20 months in old Slavonian botti (barrels) then further by bottle for another 18 months or so.
Look out also for a vinsanteria (small barrels that house the godly vin santo liquoroso white wine), hip cellar door tasting and purchase facilities, saying to tourists that this ancient Roman construction is the Antinori family re-invented.
Above is a new vineyard of sangiovese, build on 20 metres of fill, struggling now but making progress towards a drinking contribution for future tourists. Expect wine soon.
Also planted are the other traditional local red grapes: canaiolo, ciliegiolo, colorino, malvasia nera and mammolo.