Of all of the many wine producers in Italy there are none that hold quite as large a reputation as the Antinori family. Recognized today as the tenth largest family business on the planet, Antinori has dipped its toes in a variety of industries during its illustrious history, but it is with wine that the company is perhaps most closely associated.
Many make the mistake of thinking that the Antinori family’s association with wine started in 1385. After all, that was the year that the company entered the winemakers guild and it is also the one that they most commonly quote in all of their promotional materials. However, the truth of the matter is that records extend as far back as the 12th century when it comes to wine. After all, it was in 1184 that Rinuccio di Antinori was first recorded as producing wine from a countryside vineyard just outside of Florence.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Though we have covered the Antinori family in detail in the past, the company is always worth revisiting thanks to its size and the quality of its products. With that in mind, let’s take another look at how Antinori has been built up over the years, before examining yet another wonderful wine to emerge from the family.
Following the previously mentioned Rinuccio’s dealings with the wine industry, the Antinori family moved onto other endeavours. This was due to the fact that the Castello di Combiate, which is where Rinuccio made his wines, had been destroyed in 1202. Disheartened for a little while, the company began building its reputation in the banking and silk weaving industries, building a strong reputation and a small fortune in the process.
Of course, the call of wine cannot be ignored for long, as anybody who has a true passion for the drink can tell you. The famous date of 1385 is when the Antinori’s re-entered the industry with a bang, becoming a part of the Guild of Winemakers and kicking off their endeavours in the industry in earnest.
Over the next 150 years, the family developed a stellar reputation for wine, becoming one of the leading producers in Florence. The proceeds from the business allowed them to purchase the extravagant Palazzo Antinori in 1506, during which time the family was among the richest in Florence. The gold rush from the Americas put a huge dent in the family’s fortunes, but even against such adversity the Antinori’s prospered throughout the centuries. By the time the 18th century rolled around, the family was held in such high esteem that it was able to earnt he prestigious title of Marquis from House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
Though it has always held its stellar reputation for wine production, it was at the turn of the 20th century that the Antinori family really began making waves. At the time, the family was led by Piero Antinori, who took it upon himself to purchase several vineyards in the Chianti Classico region in 1900. It was this decision that started the family’s long association with Chianti wines and it is this association that has brought Antinori more acclaim and infamy over the last century or so.
In 1924, the family began making real waves with Chianti. It was then that Piero’s son Niccolo, made the decisions to create a Chianti that included several grape varieties more traditionally associated with Bordeaux. The Classico Chianti community was scandalised, but this didn’t prevent the family from doing its work and Niccolo continued to experiment with new types of Chianti production in the years that followed. The family introduced research into different issues, such as the barrel types used in Chianti production and the importance of ageing and controlling temperatures.
This innovative mindset continued through Niccolo’s son, Piero. He explored the use of white wine and a range of different production techniques, further placing the Chianti Classico community up in arms.
Of course, it was in the 1970s that the company really broke away from the traditions that so many wished them tied to. It was in 1971 that Antinori introduced Tignanello, a type of Chianti that originated from its vineyard of the same name. Contrary to some beliefs, Tignanello was not actually the first of the Super Tuscans. However, it is among the most famous and the argument can be made that Tignanello popularised the entire concept and, with the weight of the Antinori family behind it, gave the Super Tuscans the push they needed to gain acceptance among a wider audience.
Tignanello used Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon during a period where neither grape was associated with the classic style of Chianti. The company’s work caused controversy, but the popularity and undeniable quality of its products actually lead to the DOCG changing its Chianti regulations to accommodate the wine and its fellow Super Tuscans. In a final act of defiance, Antinori refuses to have the DOC or DOCG label attached to Tignanello and still sells it as a Toscana IGT wine to this day.
In more recent times, the group has focused on growth and investment. Antinori now owns vineyards all over Italy and produces many different types of wines. Today, we shall be looking at one of its many varieties of Rosé.
Despite the difficult cold and wet conditions offered up by the year 2015, the Antinori family excelled itself once again with the creation of Antinori Rosato Toscano 2015, which is a stunning Rosé that we believe stands as one of the best produced during the year.
Its gorgeous bright pink colouring gives way to a host of lovely floral notes. As you explore the bouquet further, these floral notes start to make way for interesting fruity fragrances, with most drinkers pointing to the rather interesting combination of citrus notes and red berries as being an enticing blend that pulls them further into the drink.
As you would expect from the Antinori’s all of these notes are pulled together beautifully when the wine is tasted. A gorgeous, balanced wine, the Antinori Rosato Toscano 2015 creates a perfect blend of fruity notes that has an endearing persistence.