Antinori Tignanello 2017, Tuscany, Italy (750ml)
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The 2017 vintage will be remembered for its unusual progression of the seasons. Only the month of January registered cold temperatures while the rest of winter was mild prompting early bud break in the vineyards. A cold spell at the end of April brought as light drop in production. From May throughout the entire month of August, the Chianti Classico region enjoyed hot dry weather with daily temperatures reaching over 30 °C (86 °F). Rain showers during the month of September counter balanced summer time vine stress and provided favorable conditions for optimal grape maturation. Grapes were harvested from September 20th to October 6th.
Climatic trends for the 2017 vintage required focused efforts both in the vineyard, during harvesting operations, and in the cellar, upon arrival of the grapes, where sorting and initial production phases were critical to achieve an optimal final result. During fermentation in truncated cone shaped tanks, maceration processes were performed with the utmost care to preserve aromas, extract color and manage the sweetness and elegance of tannins. Racking was done only after meticulous and daily tastings. Once the wine was run off the skins, malolactic fermentation began in small oak barrels to enhance the finesse and complexity of the aromas. In the first phase of the aging process, each vineyard lot and each grape variety were fermented separately and then blended. The wine was then transferred to French and Hungarian oak barrels, partially new and partially second-fill, fora period of 14-16 months to complete the final development of the wine’s distinctive character. Tignanello, crafted predominantly with Sangiovese and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was aged in the bottle for an additional period of 12 months before being released in the market.
Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, a parcel of some 140 acres (57 hectares) with limestone-rich soils and a southwestern exposure at 1150-1325 feets (350-400 meters) 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. Tignanello is bottled only in favorable vintages, and was not produced in 1972, 1973,1974, 1976, 1984, 1992,and 2002.
Intensely ruby red in color, Tignanello 2017 is remarkable on the nose for its complexity. Notes of ripe red fruits such as cherries preserved in spirits, sour cherries, raspberries and plums complement delicate spicy aromas of cloves and licorice; sweet balsamic notes of mint and chocolate complete its complex bouquet. On the palate it is rich, mouth-filling and vibrant with supple velvety tannins. Its lengthy finish and persistent after taste bring back aromatic notes perceived on the nose.