What do you think of when you hear the name Antinori?
Perhaps your mind casts to the immense history that the company has in the Italian wine industry. There are simply no other families that have been involved with Italian wine for as long as this family. Since the late 14th century, they’ve made their marks time and time again.
Or, maybe you think of the Super Tuscan era. While certainly not the only wine company to be involved in changing the game for the Chianti wine, the introduction of the Antinori’s Tignanello certainly marked a turning point for Super Tuscan acceptance. In the space of a year or two, this phenomenal wine validated all of the other producers who wanted to do something different with Chianti.
But we think that for most, the name Antinori simply conjures up the idea of prestige.
This is not a company that tends to focus on making wines that are friendly to a budget. For the Antinoris, the pursuit of perfection often comes at a cost, both to themselves and those who purchase their wines.
So…what are they doing releasing a wine that costs €10 or less? That’s exactly what the Antinori Santa Cristina 2019 is.
Yes, we were as shocked as you are to find the Antinori name attached to what many would see as a budget wine.
And the move raised a lot of questions for us.
Would the Antinori family bring the quality that they’re known for to this cheaper wine?
Is this just an attempt to hit a different market or is this a wine that’s made with genuine love that just happens to cost less than you would expect.
We went into our review with so many doubts about what this wine would have to offer us. But as a little spoiler alert… we didn’t need to worry at all!
This is the Antinori family and they only ever do quality!
The Facts About the Wine
Let’s get the basics out of the way before we examine the wine itself.
The Antinori Santa Cristina 2019 is a still red wine that doesn’t carry a DOC label. Instead, it carries the IGT Toscano o Toscana certification that you may just recognise from a more renowned Antinori wine.
The Chianti comparisons don’t stop there either as Antinori make sure that the wine has a healthy dose of the Sangiovese grape that has made the company so famous. Only in this case, it’s combined with Merlot to create an interesting blend of two of the most popular and flavoursome red wine varieties from both France and Italy.
Remind us again why this wine costs less than €10!
Of course, the wine hails from the Tuscany region and it has a 13% alcohol volume. This shows us the Antinori family isn’t selling us something that’s any the lesser of the wines that it normally produces. That volume is pretty much what you would expect from any other wine that the company would produce.
When serving, it’s best to decant the wine for about an hour and keeping it to a slightly chilled temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius.
As a fairly rich Italian red wine, the Antinori Santa Cristina 2019 pairs pretty well with almost any kind of meat that you could care to name. It’s also an excellent accompaniment to fresh game, with pheasant being a particular favourite for us.
However, the wine is also accessible enough to combine well with several other foods, including cheese and pasta.
Perhaps a pasta bake that makes use of red meats, such as salami, could be the perfect dish to eat with this wonderful wine.
With the facts out of the way, how about we get to the taste test and the full review. Honestly, we couldn’t quite separate ourselves from the idea that this is a budget-friendly Antinori wine. There was still a part of us that felt like we were in for a disappointment upon the first taste.
Pouring the wine helped to allay some of those fears.
It has a gorgeous red colouring with just a couple of hints of violet that seem to swim around the glass. This indicates an ageing potential that we later found out can stretch as high as 15 years. We’re likely to recommend that as well, seeing as this 2019 vintage is an exceptionally young wine. A couple of years spent in storage could work wonders, if you have the patience.
But if you don’t, you’ll be pleases to discover that the wine is an absolute treat despite its young years.
The bouquet offers up a remarkable mix of scents that we, frankly, didn’t really expect. The intense notes of cherry and other dark fruits that are typical of the Sangiovese grape are alive and well. A little further exploration reveals notes of plum and blackberry too. But it’s the vanilla and coffee notes that we found the most intriguing. They lend a combined sweetness and bitterness that seem like they ought to clash.
And yet they don’t!
The first sip was a revelation for us. We discovered a soft and accessible wine that quickly envelopes you in a warm glow that only seems to become more comforting with each sip. The aftertaste leaves behind some fruity notes that only entice further sips of the wine too.
This is an Italian red wine that’s every bit as tasty and moreish as the best that the Antinori family has to offer.
Every preconceived notion that we has about this wine was shattered. And if we’re honest, we believe that the Antinori’s could probably sell this wine for twice the price and nobody would bat an eyelid.
But fortunately for you, it’s available for less than €10 on the Xtrawine store.
Oh, and you’re expecting a rating as well, right? Out team gives this gorgeous wine an 87/100. It may not be the very best that Antinori has to offer. But you’ll struggle to find anything better at this price.