The why, the what and the how of...
Solaia, 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.
The soil in which the Solaia vineyards thrive is rich in limestone and schist and they enjoy hot days and cool nights throughout the growing season. Viticulture and vinification are carried out with the same level of precision as the other icon wines at Antinori.
The 10-hectare Solaia vineyard sits adjacent to Tignanello and is part of the same estate. Meaning ‘the sunny one’, this vineyard has the most favourable aspect and is planted predominantly with Bordeaux varietals and around 20% Sangiovese. The final Solaia blend is usually 75% Cabernet Sauvignon rounded out by Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc.
Solaia, first produced in 1978, is now very much near the top of the Super Tuscan hierarchy. Its reputation was further bolstered in 1997 when the Wine Spectator publication named it as the world’s number one wine – the first Italian wine in history to do so. One of the world’s great fine wines with a track record for decades of graceful aging in the cellar.