x
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035

The Story

When the initial production of Solaia began, the grape source was a parcel within the larger Tignanello vineyard. The same special characteristics as the original vineyard – altitude, soil, and exposure to the sun (which accounts for the name of the parcel and the wine: “Solaia” derives from sole, the Italian word for the sun) are also to be found in a nearby vineyard plot which, since 1997, has been integrated into the original vineyard. The Solaia vineyard, currently, consists of 20 hectares (49 acres) and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (15 hectares), Cabernet Franc (1 hectar) and Sangiovese (4 hectares); the vines have an average of fifteen years. Vine density ranges from 5,500 to 7,200 per hectare and a low, spurred-cordon training system is used. Over the years there has been a progressive renewal of the Solaia vineyard. This has been accomplished by utilizing the many years of experience and the more extensive knowledge of the estate’s land to further bring out the personality of Solaia as a wine.

 

The Marchesi Antinori firm produced this wine for the first time in the 1978 vintage with an initial blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, a blend repeated again in 1979. In the following vintages 20% of Sangiovese was added to the Cabernet grapes and the ratio of Cabernet Franc to Cabernet Sauvignon was changed in order to create a wine which has now become definitive in its various composing elements. Solaia is only produced in exceptional vintages: it was not produced in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1992. In 2002 the Sangiovese did not achieve satisfactory quality for Solaia: only Cabernet grapes were used. This vintage is known as “annata diversa” (different vintage).

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Written Notes

The 2014 Solaia will be released during the second half of 2017. This is a fine-tuned expression that shows a focused sense of detail and careful attention. The quota of Cabernet Franc has been upped by a hair and this makes a big difference, especially in terms of the wine's bouquet. Otherwise, this celebrated Tuscan blend is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese. It opens to dark fruit aromas with crushed mineral, pipe tobacco, pressed flower and toasted spice. Its appearance is midnight black and profound. The wine delivers a sense of sheer excitement and nervousness that will subside with another few years of bottle age. Nonetheless, I think a certain amount of that bright edginess or rigidness will always be part of this cool vintage Solaia. In the mouth, the wine is firm, compact and dense. The tannins are chiseled to the point of sublime integration. Marchesi Antinori made 40% less Solaia in this vintage in order to maintain the quality you taste here.

If you could see the vineyards of Chianti Classico from space, I’m sure the Tignanello vineyard would be the easiest to spot. Each row has been painstakingly covered with bright white stones along the entire length of each trellis line. Large Alberese limestone rocks were crushed with a cement grinder to make smaller pebbles. The rocks glow with silver luminosity when hit by the Tuscan sunshine. The ambitious project to cover this celebrated vineyard with white stones was completed some 15 years ago and I dare not think at what cost. But the benefits gained from this unique growing system are undisputed. Like the Galet stones of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, these white rocks reflect light back up onto the clusters for even ripening at 450 meters above sea level. The rocks’ whiteness helps to reduce nighttime temperatures, because most of the heat is reflected off the stones during the day. This means the canopy can remain relatively low, or at a height that is easier to manage during harvest. Fresh nighttime temperatures keep the soils cool and the environment relatively disease-free. The Marchesi Antinori General Manager, Renzo Cotarella, tells me you can actually see the color difference in the grapes harvested from the white rock rows. Throughout winemaking, that fruit is always darker and the tannins are sweeter, he says. The white stones also facilitate rainwater drainage and erosion. This was a very important benefit in the 2014 vintage that saw soggy and wet conditions throughout much of the summer.

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Information

Origin

Florence, Tuscany

Other wines from this producer

Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva

Badia A Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva

Franciacorta

Franciacorta Rosé

La Braccesca Merlot

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva

Marchese Antinori Donna Cora

Marchese Antinori Nature

Peppoli Chianti Classico

Pèppoli Chianti Classico

Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino

Pian delle Vigne Vigna Ferrovia Riserva

Santa Cristina

Tignanello

Villa Antinori

Villa Antinori Bianco

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva

Villa Antinori Rosso

Vinsanto Tenute Marchese Antinori

Xanto

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