Here at Xtrawine we want to educate our visitors about the wonders of Italian wine, as well as make some of the best vintages in the world accessible at the touch of a button. As regular visitors will know, we run a weekly series of articles that takes a look at some of the best wines on the site and the men and women who are responsible for producing them.
One of the most regularly-featured producers is the famous Antinori family. Having been a presence in Italian winemaking since the late 14th century, the company is now a powerhouse in the winemaking world, serving as a member of a number of international wine organizations and wielding influence that no other producer in the country has.
We saw an example of just how powerful and innovative the Antinori family is in the 1970s, with the oft-recounted story of the introduction of Tignanello into the Italian wine fraternity, which signalled the start of the Super Tuscan era and even led to the DOC itself changing a number of regulations so that they would be able to categorize these new wines and ensure that customers knew they would be receiving quality from the many producers who helped blaze the trail for these exciting innovations in Chianti.
What is perhaps less talked about is the fact that the Antinori family maintains a number of vineyards around the country, which means they are not as limited by geographical location and region as many smaller producers in the world. These vineyards offer the company the chance to experiment with all sorts of different wines, while the esteem that the Antinori name is held in ensures that customers flock to them because they know they will almost always receive a quality product.
So instead of rehashing the history of the Antinori family, which you should be able to find elsewhere on our blog, this week we have decided to take a more in-depth look at one of the estates that the company owns and, as importantly, one of the best wines to emerge from that estate in a number of years.
The Guado al Tasso estate has the Antinori hallmarks written all over it. This family, whose history is so indelible etched into the culture of Tuscany, lies only 60 miles from the Tuscan coast, near an area known as Bolgheri. Located to the southwest of Florence, it not only suits the regional preferences of the family, allowing them to apply their considerable expertise in the grapes of Tuscany to their work at the estate, but it is also ideally located for wine tourists who want to enjoy the many sights and sounds of Florence, while also visiting an estate that is owned by one of the giants of Italian wine production.
Spread across 300 hectares of land, the estate is a true sight to behold and an example of what a wine producer can achieve with passion, dedication and investment. The rolling hillsides of the region, which are often given the affectionate team of the “Bolgheri Amphitheatre” offer the estate a unique formation that helps it to stand out from so many other estates in the region. Those hills, which gently slope towards the sea, offer the perfect location for the growing of quality grapes, so it should come as no surprise that the Guado al Tasso estate is located right in the middle of them. A glorious centrepiece that has been in place for many years, with the aim of taming this wonderful land and ensuring that all those who sample the wines that come from it leave satisfied.
Those hills, and their proximity to the sea, have led to the creation of a unique microclimate that is unlike any of the others that are enjoyed by the many estates that the Antinori family own. While many winemakers of such enormous size may see this as too much of a challenge, preferring instead to stick with what they know, the Antinori family has always aimed to produce quality wines of great variety, which highlight the unique characteristics of the land that they come from.
As always, the family has dedicated enormous amounts of time and resources into cultivating this land, creating the perfect place for the grapes to grow so that they are imbued with its many unique features. This has resulted in the creation of wines that are truly representative of the Bolgheri region, making them completely unique. To say this is something of an achievement for a company whose reach is so wide would be an understatement.
In doing so, some would argue that the company has raised the area’s profile to the point where it is now one of the most well-regarded in the country. The sheer quality of the wines that have emerged from Guado al Tasso, including the namesake wine that we will be looking at, stands as testimony to the Antinori family’s dedication to quality and innovation within the industry. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at a vintage that wows everyone who tastes it.
Long considered to be the flagship wine of the estate, the Antinori Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Cont’Ugo 2013 demonstrates everything that the Antinori family has worked so hard to achieve through their cultivation of the land.
The stunning ruby red colouring hints at a wine that has reached the perfect level of maturation, with its vivid shades entrancing those who lay their eyes upon it.
Once introduced to the nose, the drinker will be almost overwhelmed by the gorgeous smell of cherries, with more subtle hints of pepper and spices hinting at the complexity of the wine that they are about to enjoy.
This is confirmed when the wine is tasted, as these flavours wash over the tongue, making this a wine to truly cherish. Full-bodied and with a fruity taste that is appealing to international wine lovers in particular, the wine also features nice, smooth tannins that make it easy to enjoy while still containing the complexity that many connoisseurs crave.