The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Antinori and…Antinori!

Posted on | March 23, 2016 | Written by Camacho Vidal | No Comments

CamachoWhen we think about Cabernet Franc in Italy, we automatically think of Super-Tuscan wines. While Cabernet Franc is considered an international varietal since its origins are in Bordeaux, France, it has been grown in Italy since ancient Roman times, when it was known as Biturca, the name of a tribe in southwest France’s Gironde region. Eighteenth-century records indicate that Cabernet Franc was called Uva Francesca, and although Cabernet Franc was planted throughout Italy after the phylloxera devastation of the nineteenth century, most of the Cabernet vines that remained were mostly in the north where it grew well and thrived. Modern Italy is the second largest producer of Cabernet Franc, after France, and the most well known Italian region for Cabernet Franc is Tuscany. I want to present two Super Tuscan wines that are prime examples of how good Cabernet Franc from Italy can be. One, Antinori’s Tignanello, is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc and the other, Antinori’s Matarocchio, is an elegant mono-varietal Cabernet Franc.

Antinori 2012 Tignanello $121.99

The nose of this ’12 Tignanello is ethereal with cherry and spice, hints of tar and tobacco and a slight balsamic note. The palate is powerful, dry with noticeable acidity and chewy tannins. A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, Tignanello was the first Super Tuscan to blend Sangiovese with non-indigenous grape varieties; the wine ages in barrique for a period of twelve months with another twelve months in bottle before release. Drink 2018 to 2032.

Antinori 2011 Matarocchio $349.00

The Antinori family has been making wine for 600 years, and they believe that Il Matarocchio is the maximum expression of both mono-varietal wine and a cru; it’s a wine that best shows the meeting of a single grape variety and a single vineyard, and together, they make a wine that shows its place of origin. 100% Cabernet Franc, this wine shows elegance from the start. It’s dark and dense with a nose full of cedar, spice and eucalyptus followed by minerality, loads of black fruit, leather, and a smoky herbal note. The palate is well balanced with strong grippy tannins and a spicy finish that lingers nicely. Drink 2019 to 2031.

 

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