Antinori Family Wines High-End 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.
|Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala (Chardonnay) 2014
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.
Braised Wild Oyster 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. Late autumn 2010 and winter 2011 were characterized by cold and rainy weather, and the final days of 2010 were marked by both snowfall and frigid weather. Early 2011 was dry and the initial period of spring mild in temperature, relieved fears of a return of cold weather. This continued in early April, leading to a precocious bud-burst, ten days ahead of the normal period. The growing season began favorably with low precipitation and balmy temperatures, and in July the phases of growth of development returned to the norm. Temperatures began to rise sharply after August 10th and remained high past mid-September, significantly slowing grape ripening. Picking began on September 27th and terminated during the first week of October. The grape berries were carefully selected after destemming and then delicately pressed. The fermentation lasted approximately ten days and was followed by an additional 10-12 days of skin contact. After being run off its skins, the wine went into small oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation, which finished spontaneously by the end of the year. The separate lots of wine were then racked and, aged separately in barrel on the basis of the various vineyard provenances; the barrels, coopered from Hungarian oak, were of varying capacity, from 60 gallons to 80 and 130 gallons. The total aging period lasted 18 months before bottling, and a further twelve month period of bottle aging preceded commercial release. This Chianti is an intense ruby red in color. The wine shows aromas both of fruit and the typical sensations of oak, which fuse harmonically and offer as well balsamic and graphite notes on the nose. The palate is rich, with supple and balanced tannins along with the vibrant freshness typical of Sangiovese. The finish and aftertaste are of notable persistence and repeat the notes of berry fruit first felt on the nose. In 2016, this wine earned 94 points from James Suckling and 92 points from Wine Enthusiast.
|Badia a Passignano (Chianti) 2011
Butter & Rosemary Roasted Rack Of Venison (Basil, Parsnip and Parmesan Puree, Sliced Baby Red Beets and Roasted Zinfandel Grape-Red Wine Sauce)
Bocca di Lupo is the spark that lit the enological dream of the Antinori family owned Tormaresca estate. The desire to rediscover this noble and austere varietal by offering an authentic apulian interpretation drove Tormaresca's project. A requalification program has been underway for the past fifteen years. Fully mature vines allow the production of grapes with depth and therefore ideal for making wines with great aging potential and likely to evolve over time. Bocca di Lupo represents the culmination of years of hard work and research in achieving the style desired when the Tormaresca experience was initially begun in 1998. Located within the Aglianico Castel del Monte DOC (controlled appellation),the grape varietal of this wine is 100% Aglianico cultivated organically. The crop was harvested at proper ripeness levels in order to fully bring out the structural potential of the grapes. After pressing, the fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures held to 79-82° Fahrenheit (26-28° degrees centigrade). The period of skin contact, which lasted 15-18 days, was managed principally by punching down the cap of skins in the tank and rack and return techniques along with an occasional and brief use of pumping over of the cap in order to obtain a gradual and delicate extraction. After being run off its skins, the wine went into small barrels, mostly coopered from French oak, where it went through a complete malolactic fermentation and was given its necessary aging period. After bottling, the wine was given at least a year of bottle aging in order to further heighten its aromas and flavors. The intense and elegant nose offers ripe red fruit along with well integrated spicy and balsamic notes along with chocolate and vanilla. The wine is elegant and balanced on the palate with silky tannins which give a finish and aftertaste of great length and persistence. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and the Wine Spectator both rated this wine 91 points.
|Tormaresca Bocca Di Lupo 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.
|Guado al Tasso II Bruciato 2015