Antinori Badia a Passignano Gran Selezione 2016
The Badia a Passignano Gran Selezione is produced exclusively from the finest grapes cultivated in the Chianti Classico property of the same name. The Badia a Passignano abbey, where the vineyards are located, is one of the loveliest fortified monasteries in the area and has been renowned for the quality of its wines ever since the year 1000 A.D. The Antinori family purchased the over 800 acres (325 hectares) of land around the abbey (which belongs to monks of the Vallombrosian order) in 1987 and uses as well the splendid cellars of the monastery.
The ancient Antinori family is one of the oldest and most respected wine families in the world. The Antinori clan has lived in Florence since the early 13th century when they moved there from Calenzano, a small town between Florence and Prato. The merchant family was registered with the Guild of Silk Weavers in 1285 and later with the Guild of Bankers, thanks also to the branches that opened in Bruges and Lyons, and the growing network of business in Europe. They were also wine producers and merchants, and it was this business that became prevalent over time: Giovanni di Piero Antinori registered with the Guild of Winemakers in 1385. Production and sales of wine became increasingly important for the family and by the 16th century they were known to various clients outside Italy. Pair this gorgeous Chianti Classico Gran Selezione with fresh pasta dishes, roasted meats, fine cheeses, olives and breads.
'Antinori seems to do everything well these days, from churning out millions of bottles of 'everydaywines all the way to turning out superb versions of their many flagship bottlings. This is another impressive set of new releases with a number of highlights. Over the years oenologist Renzo Cotarella has moved away from the super-late harvests of the late 1990s/early 2000s in favor of picking slightly earlier, a decision that has paid off handsomely, especially over the last few years.' Wine Advocate
In 2014, Chianti Classico approved the new level called Gran Selezione (Great Selection). It is the first and only region to have such a classification. With this new category, Chianti Classico DOCG now produces three kinds of wine:
Chianti Classico (the standard version, also called annata)
Chianti Classico Riserva, with extra aging and higher production requirements
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, a designation for only the very best Chianti Classico wines, which, like some of the other top-tier wines, will be made only in good years
All three levels of Chianti Classico have the same rules for grape composition and are required to contain a minimum of 80% Sangiovese. The other 20% can include a number of red varieties such as Canaiolo Nero or Cabernet Sauvignon, or the wine can be 100% Sangiovese. White varieties, which were once a required element of the blend, are no longer allowed in Chianti Classico.
The higher designation Gran Selezione involves tighter restrictions on production, such as lower vineyard yields and higher grape ripeness. A significant twist is that for Gran Selezione all the fruit must be estate grown. In other words, the winery must own or lease the vineyards that are the source of the grapes and cannot buy additional fruit from other growers. The minimum alcohol level for Gran Selezione is higher at 13%, reflecting the requirement for riper grapes. The aging requirement is longer as well: Gran Selezione must be aged for at least two and a half years before it can be sold, compared to one year and two years for normale and riserva, respectively. There is no requirement for wood aging, although most producers do age their wines in barrels or casks.
|Region||Italy, Tuscany, Chianti Classico|
Wine SpectatorA lush, round version, featuring milk chocolate hints and cherry, plum, almond and earth flavors. Dense, with dusty tannins. The vibrant acidity keeps all the elements defined on the lingering aftertaste. Best from 2023 through 2037. 1,100 cases imported.
Wine AdvocateBadia a Passignano is one of the last vineyards to mature and one of the first to start, so it always has a very long growing cycle. The spring began with good weather with budbreak coming about ten days early, followed by a cool, early summer and a hot August. The Sangiovese-based 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano shows some real ripeness on the close with more red and purple fruit rather than black fruit characteristics. This is a very traditional expression of the Tuscan grape and the least international of Marchesi Antinori's offerings. It's the kind of classic Sangiovese that belongs on the table next to a pappardelle with your favorite ragù.
VinousOne of the many highlights in this range, the 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano is the most refined, elegant wine Antinori has made from their Badia a Passignano property. Medium in body and lithe, but with plenty of the fruit intensity that is typical of this site, the 2016 Badia captures a striking middle ground of richness and finesse that is captivating. Lavender, mint, blue/purplish fruit and licorice are all beautifully delineated. The gradual move towards less concentration in the cellar and larger 300 and 500-liter barrels has paid off handsomely. This is such a gorgeous Chianti Classico.
Wine EnthusiastAromas of coconut, botanical herb, wild berry and oak-driven spice are front and center. The oak sensations carry over to the firm, rather austere palate along with sour cherry, raw coffee bean and licorice set against close-grained tannins. Drink 2022-2031.