We have covered the Antinori family story on multiple occasions here at Xtrawine, and with good reason. When people think about the most influential wine producers on the entire planet, the Antinori family is usually near the top of that list. They have been massively influential on the direction the industry has taken for hundreds of years and have expanded to the point where they now produce wines all over Italy.
So what brings us back to them again this week? After all, it was only last week that we examined another Antinori product.
The simple answer is that the Antinori family makes truly exceptional wines and we have found another that we want to shine the spotlight on. The company is truly deserving of the reputation it carries and, if it continues making wines like the one we are featuring this week, will likely maintain that reputation for many, many years to come.
While the company is perhaps best known for the effect they have had on the Chianti market, they also produce a number of other stunning wines. Here we once again revisit their history, before focusing on another IGT that rivals anything that carries the DOC or DOCG classification.
If there is one thing that has defined the Antinori family throughout the ages, it is their determination to keep pushing against the boundaries of what the industry is capable of to ensure they create wines that can tantalise the senses and really demonstrate the potential in the grapes.
This most recently came to the fore in the 1970s, during which time the company was at the forefront of the introduction of the Super Tuscans thanks to their Tignanello brand. However, this reputation for innovation and quality has been gained for the centuries of work that the company has put into its efforts, rather than that admittedly defining moment.
The story of this week’s wine actually goes back a little further and demonstrates the families desire to try new things in all areas of wine. While best known for their reds, the Antinori family has also created a number of stunning whites that compete with anything else produced in the country.
The Bianco is the perfect example. First produced by Niccolo Antinori in 1931, the wine is representative of the philosophy the company has held for so many years. Unconstrained by the DOC’s standards, Niccolo set out to create a white wine that was the perfect representation of the Toscano region.
To do so he consciously ignored many of the standards that had been created by other white wine producers in the region, instead focusing on how he could use the grapes the family had grown to create a white wine that would be representative of the region while also being easily identifiable with the Antinori family through its quality and ingenuity.
The Bianco was the product of those labours and shines through with such quality that even a company as open to change and experimentation as the Antinori family has seen fit to keep its composition practically exactly the same as that original 1931 vintage.
Every year, the Antinori Villa Bianco aims to being out the maximum Tuscan character in the wine, while also offering a heady alternative to the red wines that the family is perhaps more famous for.
Instead of re-treading the history of the family as extensively as we have done in the past, this week we are going to take a closer look and the particular vintage that we are shining a spotlight on, before letting you know about the characteristics that make this an ideal wine purchase.
When it comes to climate, 2015 wasn’t exactly a banner year for the Antinori Bianco. The warm weather and lack of rainfall carried with it the risk that the vines used to create the wine would not be able to get all that they needed to reach their full potential and create a vintage that lived up to the lofty reputation of its many predecessors.
Thankfully, in this case the weather did not have a major effect. The amount of ground-water that has been accumulated in the soil during the winter allowed for the lack of rainfall to become a non-issue and the talents of the Antinori family also ensured that that the other effects the climate had, such as later ripening, also did not affect the final product.
What they got for their efforts were grapes that were high in sugar levels while still featuring the acidity the wine has become known for.
The climate presents so many challenges to wine producers, which is why so many vintages can struggle to maintain their quality from year to year. Happily, a company as prestigious and experienced as the Antinori family has seen practically everything that the climate has to throw at it, so they were able to counteract the effects of the heat and produce a stunning Bianco in 2015.
So what about the wine itself? The first thing you will notice is that the straw yellow colouring carries with it a greenish hue that really helps the wine stand out from its peers. Don’t be dissuaded by this green though, even if it is not the norm for a white wine, as it really adds more to the effect than you might expect.
As with all wines, the true joy comes in opening the bottle and letting the various aromas it contains wash over you. The wine will bring citrus flavours to mind most prominently, with lemons and oranges being amongst the strongest notes. This combine well with more mellow grapefruit and other fruit flavours to create a wine that has great sharpness and variety.
To the taste, these flavours are balanced exceptionally well and offer a rather amazing length that will ensure you enjoy the wine for even longer. The savoury finish adds even more to the package, increasing the potential amount of food pairings that you can get from the wine.