Antinori Family Wines High-End (Limited Seating) Tasting Dinner
|Course||Pairing / Description||Wine|
|Small Plate Station||
Bacon Wrapped Parmesan Stuffed Artichokes (Basil Crème with Garlicky Spinach)
Thyme & Brioche Stuffed Green Lip Mussels (Chunky Roasted Tomato Sugo with Parmesan)
The Castello della Sala towers over a tufaceous promontory of the Umbrian Apennines (at 1750 feet, above sea level) just a short distance away from the boundary with Tuscany and approximately 11 miles from the historic city of Orvieto. It is a lovely medieval fortress, surrounded by historic, hillside Etruscan villages, halfway between the Paglia River and the peak of Mount Nibbio. The estate consists of a total surface area of 1250 acres, 345 of which are planted to vineyards located at 650-1480 feet above sea level on clayey soils rich in Pliocene-epoch fossils of volcanic and sedimentary origin. Approximately 20 acres are covered by olive groves for the production, for domestic use, of extra-virgin olive oil. The name of the wine, Cervaro, a blend of Chardonnay and a native grape, Grechetto, derives from that of the noble family which owned the castle during the 14th century: Monaldeschi della Cervara. The Antinori family purchased the property, the castle and the surrounding land, in the year 1940. The first vintage of Cervaro della Sala, the 1985, was released in 1987. The wine has been awarded various prizes and won much recognition for the consistent excellence of its quality. The 2014 vintage was marked by a mild winter with temperatures above seasonal average, and by abundant rainfall. The spring and early summer rains created precious reserves of ground water in the soil. Late summer saw important temperature swings from daytime warmth to evening and night time coolness which created the pre-conditions for a slow and balanced ripening of the grapes. Mild September weather allowed picking operations to be organized in an optimal fashion, operations assisted as well by the meticulous vineyard work during the various previous phases of vegetation; this, particularly in complicated vintages such as 2014, guarantees both a quality production and grapes which were incontestably healthy. Picking of the Chardonnay began during the first ten days of September, approximately a week and half later than usual, while the harvest of the Grechetto, physiologically two weeks later in its ripening cycle, concluded towards the end of the month of September. The picking of the grapes to be utilized for Cervaro, just as in the case of other great white wines, requires particular care. In fact, in order to avoid damaging oxidative processes and the extraction of undesirable tannins, the harvest takes place only during the early hours of the morning in order to insure that the grapes which arrive in the cellars are perfectly healthy and not stressed by high daytime temperatures. The attention given to the crop continues in the cellar thanks to the special design of the structure, conceived to take advantage of the force of gravity, avoiding mechanical intervention on the grapes and the must. The must, after an approximately four hour maceration on the grape skins at a temperature of 50° Fahrenheit, goes into decantation tanks where it loses, in a natural settling, its impurities before going into oak barrels. Both the regular and the malolactic fermentation takes place in oak; it is the latter which regulates the process and determines how long the wine will remain in barrel. Normally, after five months, all the lots of Chardonnay are ready to go into stainless steel tanks and be blended with the Grechetto, which has been fermented on its own and entirely in stainless steel. After bottling, Cervaro della Sala is given an additional twelve month period of bottle aging in the historic Castello della Sala cellars. This Cervaro is a brilliant yellow in color with greenish highlights. It shows a rich, complex and fresh bouquet of hazelnut butter, vanilla and white flowers. It is elegant on the palate and extremely savory, crisp, and vibrant. The delicate toasty sensations of the oak barrels blend harmoniously with the structure of the wine, fully bringing out the notes of both tropical and citrus fruit. In 2016, this wine earned 96 points from James Suckling and 91 points from Wine Spectator.
|Antinori Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay 2014
Braised Wild Lobster Mushroom & Fennel Pomodoro (Chiffonade of Kale, Basil, Rigatoni Pasta, Ricotta Salata and Virgin Olive Oil)
The Badia a Passignano abbey is situated in Sambuca Val di Pesa, extended over a calcareous terrain which rises to an altitude of 825-100 feet above sea level in one of the loveliest and most productive parts of the Chianti Classico appellation. The fundamental importance of this abbey in the history of Chianti Classico can be read in many volumes housed in the State Archives of Florence, which confirm the presence of Sangiovese vineyards and other types of cultivation in the zone. Further confirmation occurred in 1983 when, in the terrain surrounding the abbey, a millennia-old vitis vinifera vine was found. The Badia a Passignano Gran Selezione is produced exclusively from the finest grapes cultivated in the Chianti Classico property of the same name. The Badia a Passignano abbey, where the vineyards are located, is one of the loveliest fortified monasteries in the area and has been renowned for the quality of its wines ever since the year 1000 A.D. The Antinori family purchased the over 800 acres of land around the abbey (which belongs to monks of the Vallombrosian order) in 1987 and uses as well the splendid cellars of the monastery. Autumn of 2009 and the following winter of 2010 were characterized by rain and low temperatures. Snow fell towards the end of 2009 and continued at intervals until mid-March. The weather assured an excellent period of repose for the vines which, together with the abundant precipitations of early spring, significantly delayed bud burst compared to the normal seasonal period. The months of April, May, and June, of crucial importance for vine growth and development, were characterized by high rainfall and lower than average temperatures, leading to a delay in the vine cycle which involved all grape varieties. The summer, warm in temperature and dry in climate, contributed to an excellent development of the grape bunches and a significant recovery of lost time in vine growth. Climatic conditions changed once again towards the end of July and during the first half of August with the arrival of rather low temperatures for the season and light rainfall which, together, slowed the color change of the grapes. September alternated warm, sunny and breezy days with occasional rain which, fortunately, was regularly followed by north winds which rapidly dried the grapes and adjusted the micro-climate of the vineyards. Cool nights and warm daytime temperatures led to an optimal physiological ripening of the Sangiovese grapes, and picking, which began towards the end of September, was concluded around the 10th of October. The unusual climatic conditions of the vintage made a careful process of selection in every phase of the production process an indispensable necessity. Upon their arrival at the cellars, the grapes, after a delicate destemming, were manually selected on the sorting table to guarantee a product of the highest quality. This operation was of fundamental important in realizing the full potential of the crop during the elaboration of the musts. The fermentation lasted ten days and, after finishing their sugars, the grapes remained on their skins for an additional ten to twelve days. After being run off its skins, the wine went into Hungarian, and partly French, oak barrels where it went through a complete malolactic fermentation by the end of the year. After racking, the various lots, still kept separate on the basis of the various vineyard parcels of origin, were aged for fourteen months in 60 and 80 gallon Hungarian, and, again, partly French, oak barrels. During this phase, the various lots were constantly tasted and controlled in order to maximize the benefits of the aging process. The lots were then blended together and bottled at the end of the aging period. A further twelve month period of bottle aging concluded the winemaking process. This Chianti is an intense ruby red in color. The wine shows aromas of ripe fruit, at times of maximum ripeness, but with a total respect for the grape variety and an excellently maintained freshness. The notes of fruit and oak fuse in harmonious balance with minty balsamic notes and suggestions of graphite. The rich palate, with supple and balanced tannins, is vibrant and fully expressive of Sangiovese. The length, persistence and aftertaste are of notable importance and echo the fruit first felt on the nose.
|Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010
Chargrilled Dry Aged Prime New York Strip Steak (Lardon and Onion Brussels Sprouts, Charred Grape Tomato and Red Wine Reduction with Herb Butter)
The Tenuta Tignanello estate is located between the Greve and Pesa River valleys in the heart of the Chianti Classico appellation, between the two hamlets of Montefiridolfi and Santa Maria a Macerata, 19 miles to the south of the city of Florence. In these 320 acres of vineyards, the Antinori family, more than anywhere else, has expressed its principles and working philosophy: reconcile tradition and modernity with wines which are strictly and authentically tied to their territories of origin. Solaia and Tignanello, the two iconic wines of the estate, have been defined by the international press as “among the most influential wines in the viticultural history of Italy” and are a constant symbol for the Antinori family of a continuous challenge, one driven by pure passion. Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, a parcel of some 140 acres with limestone-rich soils and a southwestern exposure at 1150-1325 feet 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 - Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, a true “Super Tuscan”. Tignanello is bottled only in favorable vintages, and was not produced in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1984, 1992 and 2002. The winter of 2014 was a rather mild season with temperatures slightly higher than normal averages for the period. This led to an early bud burst of all the grape varieties. The spring season was marked by dry and mild weather which assisted a good flowering and bud set of the crop. The rainy summer slowed the processes of color change and ripening in the grapes, which re-balanced themselves in part during the good September thanks to days of warm and sunny weather. Preceded by a green harvest, the picking took place between the second half of September and early October. Delicate vineyard work, leaf removal and crop thinning, along with a careful manual selection of the bunches during harvest operations assured the fermentation of high quality grapes with much varietal personality. During the fermentation in conical stainless steel tanks, extreme attention was given to an extraction aimed at fresh and fragrant aromas, full colors, and supple, elegant textures and tannins. Once the wine had been run off its skins at the end of the fermentation, it was put through a full malolactic fermentation in oak barrels to fully bring out the finesse and expressiveness of the aromas. The aging process, which lasted approximately 12-14 months, then began and took place in 60 gallon French and Hungarian oak barrels, partly new and partly used once previously. The various lots, fermented separately variety by variety, then finished their aging and were blended together a few months previous to bottling. Tignanello has an intense ruby red in color with purple highlights. The wine shows an intense nose of red fruit along with hints of sweet spices and underbrush. On the palate, the flavors are fresh and vibrant with supple and balanced tannins. The finish and after taste are long and sustained. In 2017, this wine earned 94 points from James Suckling and 93 points from Robert Parker and from Wine Spectator.
|Antinori Tignanello 2014
Butter & Rosemary Roasted Rack Of Venison (Basil, Parsnip and Parmesan Puree, Sliced Baby Red Beets and Roasted Zinfandel Grape-Red Wine Sauce)
The Pian delle Vigne estate has belonged to the Antinori family since 1995 and is located 3.5 miles to the south of the town of Montalcino, above the Orcia river valley. The property consists of 460 acres, 65 of which are planted to vines situated between 440-660 feet above sea level and with an exposure which is principally to the southeast. The soil consists prevalently of clay and limestone and is rich in small stones. It takes its name from a period-style 19th century railroad station situated within the estate’s confines. The Brunello di Montalcino is produced exclusively from Sangiovese grapes (the variety is known as Brunello in Montalcino) according to the regulations of an appellation which most significant points are: production zone - township of Montalcino; maximum yield in the vineyard - eight tons per hectare; yield in wine from the grapes - a maximum of 68%; obligatory wood aging for the wines - two years; obligatory bottle aging for the wines - minimum four months (six months for the Riserva); minimum alcohol level - 12.5%; commercial release - no sooner than the first of January of the fifth year after the harvest (the sixth year in the case of the Riserva). The 2012 vintage was characterized by a balanced late autumn of 2011, a cold winter and a mild spring in 2012. The summer season immediately arrived with high temperatures, which assisted a regular ripening of the grape bunches. Late August, instead, was marked by lower temperatures and important temperature swings from daytime warmth to evening and nighttime coolness, factors which made a major contribution to aromatic intensity and freshness. The harvest took place in mild and dry daytime weather between the third week of September and the first week of October. After a careful selection of the grapes both in the vineyard and in the cellar, the grapes were destemmed, and given a soft pressing; the must then went into stainless steel tanks and remained in contact with its skins for approximately three weeks at a temperature around 82° Fahrenheit. The resulting wine was put through a complete malolactic fermentation and aged in 800 to 2100 gallon oak casks. After two years of aging, the wine was bottled in April of 2015. The Brunello di Montalcino is ruby red in color. The nose shows fruity and floral notes together with spicy and balsamic sensation which add freshness and complexity. The palate and its supple and silky tannins are creamy in texture, the wine round and enveloping in character, with an excellent and pleasurable length and persistence. In 2017, this wine earned 94 points from James Suckling and 93 points from Wine Enthusiast.
|Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2012
Dark Chocolate & Blackberry Gateau (Salt and Sugar Roasted Brown Butter Almond Bark, Nutmeg Whipped Cream and Basil-Sugar)
The Guado al Tasso estate is located near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, 60 miles to the southwest of Florence. The 750 acres planted to vineyards on the property are in the center of the so-called “Bolgheri amphitheater”: rolling hillsides which surround a splendid plain which slopes gently towards the sea and create a micro-climate with unique characteristics. In addition to 750 acres of vineyards, terrain planted to the cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, and olive groves along with woods in which a herd of “cinta senesi” pigs, a prize local breed, roam and feed. Guado al Tasso, the flagship wine of the estate, expresses all of the force and suppleness of this corner of the upper Maremma. It has contributed to raise Bolgheri to the level of the most important areas of Europe’s viticulture, expressing a decisively Mediterranean character of power, elegance, and balance. The 2015 vintage was characterized by abundant rainfall during the winter and by a dry and mild spring. The bud burst, notably earlier than in 2014, was followed by an equally precocious flowering. The first part of summer saw an important rise in temperatures, which came back into balance during the second half of the month of August, assisting the grapes to achieve a perfect state of ripeness. The harvest began in early September and lasted all the way through the first ten days of October. The grapes which were selected came from a range of vineyard plots which extend over some 200 acres and express the typical characteristics of the Bolgheri production zone. The fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and lasted from 10 to 15 days at temperatures between 82° and 86° Fahrenheit. A part of the Merlot and Syrah must was fermented at lower temperatures to better conserve varietal aromas. The malolactic fermentation took place partly in oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks and terminated for all the different grape varieties by the end of the year. The wine was then racked and went back into small oak barrels for a seven month aging period, at the end of which it was bottled. Four months of bottle aging preceded commercial release. The 2015 Il Bruciato, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah is an intense ruby red in color. The wine shows attractive and complex aromas of red berry fruit, sweet spices, and toasted coffee. The flavors are full, round and of high level balance and pleasure. It will be a vintage well capable of improving over time.
|Antinori Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato 2015