Monday, March 2, 2009

Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (2004) Tuscany

Blah, blah, blah, blah. It seems the whole world already knows about Antinori’s legendary winemaking history (dating back to the 1300’s), their role in creating the "Super-Tuscan" revolution of the 1970’s (Tignanello), and about them being one of the biggest names in Italian wine. The question for today is, “Does anyone care?” I would say, “Not really”. It’s not that their wines aren’t good; in fact, many are terrific (if not cost prohibitive). I just don’t find anything compelling about Antinori’s forty year old “revolutionary” persona that they have built their legend upon. Maybe it’s the “branding baggage” associated with the legendary name that’s off-putting to me. That being said, I liked the 2004 Chianti Classico Riserva. It’s made up of 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and other complementary red varieties grown on the Antinori’s Santa Cristina, Pèppoli and Badia a Passignano estates in the Mercatale Val di Pesa zone in Chianti Classico. Antinori’s winemaking skill is evident in the wines suppleness and balance. The wine was aged in French 225-liter barriques (used for the second and third time) for about 14 months after a selection and blending process. At the end of the aging period, every barrique is tasted and blended again, after which the wine is bottled and aged for another year. Intense, ruby-red color. Nice, spicy hints of cinnamon, cloves and pepper on the nose. A very nice wine from a legendary, revolutionary producer. (Can you tell I am off-putted?)

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