WineAccess Travel Log

Read stories from the world's greatest wine trails.

Antinori is Italy's single best-known wine producer, and rightfully so, with over 800 years of history making fine wine. It was Rinuccio di Antinoro, In 1184, who got the ball rolling, producing wine at the Castello di Combiate outside of Florence. In the years to come, the Antinori fame and fortune would only grow; official titles were bestowed upon family members, and the size of the vineyard expanded constantly. Today, the Antinoris own more than ten estates throughout Italy. In Tuscany alone, several estates are the source of textbook entry-level Chiantis and two excellent Chianti Classico Riserva bottlings. The jewel in the crown, though, is Tenuta Tignanello.

This estate, in the heart of Chianti Classico, is famous-- and infamous-- for its experimental brand of winemaking. Its most contentious vines are divided between the Tignanello and Solaia Vineyards. In the 1970's they bore the fruit that caused a revolution in Italian wine, creating the "Super-Tuscan" or IGT classification.

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The story begins in 1900, when family member Piero Antinori bought Tignanello with the intention of producing traditional Chianti. His son, Niccolo, had different ideas, and in 1924 he caused a scandal when he produced a Chianti with Bordeaux varietals--mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Niccolo's son, also named Piero, took over for his father in 1966 and would take the experimentation even further. In 1971 he produced a wine called Tignanello, after the estate. It contained Sangiovese as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and was thus ineligible for classification as a Chianti. What was created would come to be known as the "Super-Tuscan," a wildly popular wine made with both Italian and Bordeaux varietals. Over 40 years later, not only are Tignanello and Solaia the top wines in the Antinori portfolio, they are consistently among the greatest in Italy.


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About Chile

Virtually every wine region in Chile benefits from proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the cooling Humboldt Current that flows up from the South Pole. Although Chile extends more than 2,000 miles from north to south, its grape-growing regions are clustered in the center of the country, where rainfall is concentrated during the winter months, and where an absence of fungal diseases makes for relatively carefree grape-farming.
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