Tignanello 2021: a surprising Supertuscan, exceeding expectations for its 50th Vintage

Jun 3 2024, 17:55
The Marchesi Antinori, at their estate in San Casciano, celebrate 50 years of Tignanello with an almost perfect vintage

The oenologist speaks up, modestly presenting the latest vintage of his wine: "It's the best version ever." This scene is a constant with producers, and we experienced it once again during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Tignanello by the Marchesi Antinori at their estate in San Casciano in Val di Pesa. In this case, the glass confirmed it.

credits Sara Matthews

The turning point

Tignanello was born in 1971 and released to the market for the first time in 1974, marking the beginning of a true revolution. The first break was the decision to step away from the Chianti Classico regulations, which mandated the use of white grapes in the blend. Initially released as a table wine, it was composed solely of Sangiovese with a small balance of Canaiolo, and aged in barriques for 30 months, a novelty for the time. In 1975, another significant change occurred with the introduction of Cabernet, heralding the era of the Supertuscan. Its positioning was already high, released at a price well above the average for Chianti Classico at the time: 2,220 lire, about 300% more than the denomination average. Today, Tignanello’s blend consists of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

It’s hard to say if Tignanello 2021 stands at the pinnacle of all vintages, but this vintage will surely be talked about for decades. The feedback from our tastings in Bolgheri and Chianti Classico reinforce these excellent impressions. It’s a vintage of fullness, maturity, and complexity. "We have become who we are thanks to it. Tignanello made us aware of our potential," begins Piero Antinori. "It rid us of that inferiority complex we had for centuries regarding French wines. It and the models that followed contributed to the renaissance of Tuscan and national wine, enhancing the prestige of Made in Italy." Among the latest ventures of the family, which has been in the wine business since the 1300s, are the significant investment to acquire Stag's Leap in California, one of Napa's most renowned wineries, and the participation in the restoration of the Ponte Vecchio, coinciding with Tignanello’s 50th anniversary. The projects are set to be completed in the summer of 2026 at a total cost of 2 million euros.

The tasting

The vineyard is situated at about 400 meters altitude, with soils rich in alberese and galestro. In 2021, an additional 20 hectares of the hill were acquired, and in February 2024, the planting of the last part of the vineyard was completed, entirely terraced to optimize water resources. The complete vertical tasting, divided into decades from the 1970s to today, will be detailed in the next monthly issue, along with a series of mixed impressions and challenges encountered. Meanwhile, here is the latest release.

Tignanello 2021 (Magnum)

It has a serious, composed, mature profile. Aromas range from cherry to nutmeg and juniper. The palate is like a glove; the quality of the tannins is sublime, combining flesh, structure, and acidity in a context of remarkable harmony. It has luscious and velvety traits, with a continuous and prolonged finish. The ripeness is enchanting, and the wood is a caress.

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