The Antinori’s family’s winemaking history has been synonymous with the famed wine growing regions of Tuscany and Umbria since its inception more than six centuries ago, 26 generations, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori entered the “Arte Fiorentina,” the Winemakers’ Guild of Florence, in 1385.
Today the firm is run by Piero Antinori and his three daughters: Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia. Throughout its storied past, the family has managed this work with a fundamental respect for tradition and the territory in which they have operated. Today, their wines are among the most recognized and highly rated of Italy.
The cornerstone of the family’s philosophy has been that quality is a long-term and ongoing commitment, and the Antinori family’s centuries of successful wine production is due in no small part to this commitment.
It’s what gives the family a perspective that is unique in the wine world, and allows them to think beyond a single vintage or a single place, and to make bold choices while remaining true to the tradition, culture and taste of Antinori wines.
Super Tuscans came into being during the 1970s, when rebellious winemakers in Chianti, in Tuscany, began to experiment with different types of grape. One of the first was Tignanello, released in 1971 by the Antinori family. They had started experimenting with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc in the 1920s but the vines were abandoned during the second world war before being replanted in the 1960s.
Solaia, created in 1978 by Piero Antinori, came about because a superlative crop of cabernet sauvignon was harvested that year. Rather than including it in the Tignanello blend (sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc), Antinori tried his hand at making a wine with just cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.
Masseto was created at Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, by Lodovico Antinori, Piero's brother. Made entirely from merlot, it was first produced in 1986 and, for that vintage, was described simply as merlot. This wine's rarity and price, for any of the vintages, are comparable to those of another highly sought-after merlot-only wine - Chateau Petrus, from Pomerol, in Bordeaux.
Since 1992, super Tuscans have been given their own designation, IGT (indicazione geografica tipica), which allows for experimentation with non-Italian varieties, as long as all the grapes are grown in the area where the wine is made.
Some of these wine rebels have been rewarded with their own DOC. Sassicaia (mostly cabernet sauvignon), made at Tenuta San Guido, by the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, was one of the trailblazers. From 1948, the marchese produced Sassicaia for personal consumption, before releasing the wine commercially in 1968. He was one of the first to see the potential of Bordeaux grapes in Tuscany and had the courage to plant something different. Sassicaia is the only wine from a single estate to have its own DOC - Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, granted in 1994.
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