Italy

Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT, 2017

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Big, bold, Super-Tuscan red built for long elegant life

The 2017 vintage was difficult with mixed weather, a bitter cold April followed later by a scorching August. But this Solaia was managed brilliantly, as evidenced by the critical applause; Decanter awarded it 97 points with Robertparker.com (95), the Wine Spectator (95) and Jancis Robinson (17.5/20) close behind. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Sangiovese (20%) and Cabernet Franc (8%) delivers an expressive nose of cherry and blackcurrant with well-mannered tannins and impeccable balance, said the Wine Spectator. Reflecting its 14% abv, it is a big wine graced with supreme elegance and balance.

  • Super-Tuscan, super vintage
  • Critical acclaim
  • Perfect for cellaring

Food Pairing: The best of roasted meats, particularly beef.

Cellaring: Drinking now to 2040, but will really reward patience. 

STORY BEHIND THIS WINE

Solaia was first created as an experiment in 1978 when the Chianti Classico vineyards for the illustrious Tignanello – Solaia’s sister wine – produced an excess of Cabernet grapes. Marchesi Antinori decided to make a virtue out of necessity and used the additional grapes to produce 3,600 bottles of a wine that became known as Solaia. The original blend for the 1978 vintage was Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%). This was repeated for the 1979 vintage. In the following years Sangiovese was introduced and the blend now typically consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Sangiovese (20%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) though there can be minor variation. The only exception to this was the 2002 vintage, when the Sangiovese grapes failed to ripen fully. As a result, Solaia 2002 is known as the “annata diversa” – different vintage – because it is the only recent wine to solely use the Cabernet variety. Solaia was also not made in a handful of difficult years: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1992. Solaia is now recognised as one of the great wines of Italy. Incidentally, the blend for Tignanello - Sangiovese (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) - almost inverts the Solaia blend. Today, Solaia and Tignanello are still produced side by side in the Tenuta Tignanello estate though the grapes for each wine are clearly demarcated as are the facilities where they are made.

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