The Marchese Antinori Riserva is produced only in superior vintages, utilizing exclusively the grapes of the Tignanello estate vineyards, located in the township of Mercatale Val di Pesa in the Chianti Classico appellation
The growing season was characterized by an autumn 2007 and a winter 2008 not particularly cold and with little rainfall, conditions which led to an early bud break compared to the previous vintages of the same period. The spring, which marked the beginning of vine development, was marked by difficult weather, with frequent rainstorms up until the end of May and a resulting slowdown of vine growth which did not, however, compromise the health of the vineyard. June and July, in contrast, were quite warm and further rainfall did not arrive until the month of August, with scattered precipitation which assisted the plants in the development of both their vegetation and their grapes. September and October were very favorable for harvest operations, thanks as well to temperature swings between daytime heat and nighttime rain which gave grapes of optimum quality. The finest selections of Sangiovese and Cabernet for the Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva were harvested during the first days of the month of October and, from the very beginning of their transformation into wine, the musts showed very interesting aromas, flavors, and color, which promised a high level vintage.
The climatic conditions allowed a planning and execution of harvesting operations which fully brought out the character of the individual vineyard plots, and picking, entirely by hand, was adapted to the differences of exposure, altitude, ripeness level, and analytical characteristics of the grapes of the various plots.
The grape bunches, once in the fermenting cellars, were delicately destemmed and pressed to conserve to the maximum degree the varietal character of the aromas and flavors, an operation of great importance in the case of Sangiovese. Once in the stainless steel fermenting tanks the grapes were macerated with the aid of periodic, and very soft, pumping over the cap of skins and of délestage (“rack and return”) techniques in order to guarantee an extraction which was intense and, at the same time, capable of giving wines of elegance and roundness of tannins. From the very start of fermentation operations the musts showed rich colors and structure thanks to the highly favorable weather of the growing season.
The fermentation lasted approximately seven days and was followed by a further eight to nine days period of skin contact in the fermenting tanks.
Immediately after it was run off its skins, the wine went into small oak barrels, for the most part of French origin, in order to go through a complete malolactic fermentation, which took place spontaneously by the end of the year. After racking, the wines, still separated by their vineyard provenance, were aged for a year in French and Hungarian oak barrels.
During this lengthy phase the various lots were constantly tasted and monitored in order to maximize their quality level during this period of barrel aging and were then assembled into a final blend at the end of their aging cycle. The wine was then bottled and given a further twelve months of bottle aging before release.