Antinori Solaia 2015
Solaia wine is one of Antinori's crowning jewels, only made in outstanding vintages. A south west facing vineyard of about 10 hectares at 350 meters on rocky limestone land near the Tignanello estate, Solaia is a rich, velvety 'Super Tuscan'. Marchesi Antinori produced this wine for the first time in the 1978 vintage; the original blend, repeated in 1979, was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. In subsequent years 20% of Sangiovese was added and some corrections were made to the Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc ratio until today's composition was reached. The 2015 is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese and a tiny part Cabernet Franc.
The ancient Antinori family has made wine for 26 generations. They have resided in Florence since the early 13th century when they moved there from Calenzano, a village between Florence and Prato. The Antinori family's first encounter with wine dates back to 1385, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Guild of Wine Merchants to make the best use of the family's country properties in Valdarno, around Florence. In the 16th century, banker and merchant Alessandro Antinori made the wine from his estates famous in Italy and abroad, travelling from Lyons to Flanders, and from Spain to Algiers.
Wine AdvocateThere is a magical infinity, a continuous loop of compatibilities, between the icon wines of Tuscany and the 2015 vintage. The stunning 2015 Solaia is solid evidence of this perfect alignment. This was a warm vintage that shows less favorably in my opinion in different parts of Italy and with other grapes that render their most elegant performances in the cooler vintages. I would put pure expressions of Nebbiolo and Sangiovese in this category. However, Tuscany and many of her great blended reds (made partially or fully with international grapes) operate according to a different logic. To me, their maximum expression comes when you can taste that Tuscan sunshine beaming from within. Its rays are brilliant and warm. They shine across the senses with opulence and intensity. The very name Solaia evokes the concept of sunshine and this unique Tuscan wine archetype I am referring to. With the 2015 vintage, Solaia is liquid sunshine not just in name but also in fact. The bouquet is immediately soft and sensual with dark fruit, spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel shows intensity and power, but you don't get any heavy residue from the dry extract (measured at 33 grams per liter). Indeed, the wine feels glossy, tonic and fresh. It is composed of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese and a tiny part Cabernet Franc. There is a bit of crunch or snap that comes thanks to the more acidity-prone Sangiovese grape (the wine measures 3.5 in pH). Finally, the tannins are beautifully sweet and ripe. This wine is meticulously executed, and the 2015 vintage lives up to an ideal of what we imagine Solaia to be. It will be released about a week after this review is published. Some 80,000 bottles were produced.