June 2010 Tasting Panel Newsletter

Under the Tuscan Sun

By: Anthony Dias Blue


  A VERTICAL OF ANTINORI'S SOLAIA

At this year's Vinitaly, Antinori staged a select, six-vintage vertical of its Solaia, including the very first vintage, from 1978. This famed Supertuscan comes from a 10-hectare plot (the "sunny" vineyard) in the Chianti Classico zone.

The restrospective showed the staying power of this Cabernet-driven wine. It also demonstrated the New World style that Antinori initiated with Solaia—a style that is ripe, forward and dense. As you can see from my notes, the 1994 was a pinnacle, while the yet-unreleased 2007 showed amazing concentration and power.

The current vintage, the 2006, was not tasted; it has a suggested retail price of $285. Solaia, like other Antinori wines, is imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

92 Antinori 1978 Solaia, Toscana
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
Dark and brickish in color; smooth, silky and herbal; rich and very juicy with lively acid and pure fruit flavors; sweet and ripe.

91 Antinori 1988 Solaia, Toscana
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc
Dark ruby color; smooth and sweet with silky texture; soft tannins; rich spice and smooth juicy fruit; ripe plum; lively.

96 Antinori 1994 Solaia, Toscana
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Franc
Dark color; rich and sweet with gorgeous, smooth, velevety texture; powerful and soft with firm acidity and stunning depth; sweet, ripe and exquisite.

93 Antinori 1997 Solaia, Toscana
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc
Silky and tannic with gorgeous fruit and youthful sweet oak; lovely ripe flavors; juicy, rich and long.

93 Antinori 2004 Solaia, Toscana
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc
Smooth and rich with dense, velvety texture and ripe plum with sweet oak; lush and ripe with balance, soft tannins and rich fruit; licorice and spice.

94 Antinori 2007 Solaia, Toscana
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc
Dark ruby color with bluish notes; deep, dark, lush, and sweet with vanilla and spice; very ripe and concentrated; rich and nicely structured; long and balanced.

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