The why, the what and the how of...

Guado al Tasso, Marchesi Antinori

The Antinori family is royalty in the winemaking world; for over 600 years the family has been central to the Tuscan wine industry, 26 generations in all.

With vineyards throughout Tuscany for centuries, it was the purchase of the 47-hectare ‘Tignanello’ vineyard in 1900 that really put the family on the map. By 1924, Niccolo Antinori was causing a scandal by planting Bordeaux varietals alongside the revered native Sangiovese, inspired by his cousin at Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia.

In 1974 the first vintage of Tignanello (the 1971) was launched and made of entirely Bordeaux varietals – so soon after the release of Sassicaia this caused shockwaves in the region. Inspired by the success, 4 years later they bought the Solaia vineyard, and a similar project was also underway in Bolgheri on the Guado al Tasso estate, inherited by the Antinori family in the 1930s.

Guado al Tasso is a 320-hectare estate in the small but prestigious Bolgheri DOC, encompassed by a natural amphitheatre of surrounding hills. It is one hundred kilometers southwest of Florence. The estate currently produces six wines ranging from the zippy Vermentino right up to the single vineyard, 100% Cabernet Franc “Matarocchio”. The flagship though is most certainly the Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri DOC Superiore which was originally produced in 1990 and is now made entirely of Bordeaux varietals (early vintages also had Syrah in the blend). Alluvial soils and lower altitude (Bolgheri is coastal and sits at around 100-150m above sea level) mean this site is ideally suited to varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc which thrive in a maritime climate. Also planted on the estate are Syrah, Petit Verdot, Vermentino Nero and Bianco.

Guado al Tasso has stylistically evolved from being quite a heavy, muscled and more extracted wine in the 1990s to a much more elegant, open expression of this special part of the Bolgheri terroir. Current production stands at between 10-12,000 cases and this wine just gets better every year that Renzo Cotarella and his team are at the helm. Guado al Tasso doesn’t stand back to any of the other high-profile Super Tuscans – this is one of the very best.

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