100-Point Winemaker’s Everyday Super Tuscan Luxury
As under-$20 Super Tuscans go, it doesn’t get any better than “O’Lillo!” 100-point winemaker Stefano Chioccioli’s Tignanello-esque Bordeaux blend — the 2015 “O’Lillo!” earned consistently high praise from Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, and James Suckling. The exciting new 2016 release has already left a smitten James Suckling to salivate over its “full body,” and “layered” mouthfeel, which he felt warranted a 91-point score. Little wonder, given that 2016 presented a fantastic vintage in Tuscany. Wine Spectator interviewed legendary winemaker Renzo Cotarella who said, “The quality there is unbelievable. I've never seen a vintage like this." Wine Access clients have stockpiled the previous vintage, and this current release under-$20 Super Tuscan, which continues to give Sassicaia, Tignanello, Solaia, and Ornellaia a run for the money, should be no exception. Just $17.99 per bottle while it lasts.
In addition to Chioccioli’s 100-point score from Robert Parker, almost as incredibly, he’s earned more than 100 Tre Bicchieri or “Three Glasses,” awards. With such winemaking prowess at hand, one might expect owner Riccardo Baracchi would have raised prices accordingly. But just as had been the case during the early days of the Super Tuscan craze, Riccardo remained a downside player. Here’s why.
In 1971, the first vintage of Sassicaia debuted — a 1968 Tuscan Cabernet Sauvignon drawn off a small vineyard in Bolgheri. That same year saw Piero Antinori craft his first “Tignanello.” Next came Solaia and then Ornellaia. By the early 1990s, these four “Super” Tuscan reds were among the most sought-after and expensive wines in Italy.
Piero’s neighbors took careful note — particularly Riccardo Baracchi, who was fully aware of Tuscany’s Antinori-inspired cash-flow bonanza. But rather than raising overhead costs on labeling and marketing efforts, Baracchi zeroed in on Antinori’s clonal and vineyard protocol. On each of his three properties — the sandy soils of San Martino, the clay and chalk of Gabbiano, and the classic limestone and clay of Montanare — Baracchi planted Bordeaux varieties that were best suited to each terroir. And though he continues to be the critical darling of Tuscany’s under-$20 Super Tuscan category, he holds firm on prices, refusing to inflate his stupendous IGTs. There’s nothing left to do but say, “Thanks,” and stock up before it’s all gone.