Antinori: Tignanello Estate


 

Overview

The Tignanello estate is the home of the renowned Tignanello and Solaia vineyards. It is located between the Greve and Pesa Valleys in the heart of the Chianti Classico area, 20 miles south of Florence, 9 miles south of San Casciano, and one south of Mercatale Val di Pesa, between Montefiridolfi and S.M. Macerata, off the Via Chiantigiana.

 

Vineyards

Tignanello consists of 350 hectares (861 acres), with 147 hectares (363 acres) under vine. The vineyards are divided into small individual plots, including the southwest-facing 47 hectares (116 acres) Tignanello vineyard (which is mentioned in records dating to the 15th century) and the contiguous 10 hectares (24.7 acres) Solaia Vineyard, both of which are planted with Cabernet and Sangiovese that greatly benefit from the specific exposure and microclimate. The vineyards are planted on soils derived from Pliocene marine marls with limestone and shale, at elevations ranging between 320-400 metres (1,050-1,312 feet); they benefit from warm days and cool nights during the growing season.

 

The white grape vineyards include indigenous Malvasia and Trebbiano which are generally harvested during the first half of September.
The red grapes are indigenous Sangiovese and the non-traditional Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc that Antinori initially experimented with in the 1920s, abandoned during World War II, replanted in the 1960s, and began using commercially in the 1970s.

These grapes are harvested over approximately three weeks from late September to early October, and are crushed and fermented at the estate before subsequent aging and bottling. Other non-traditional grapes at Tignanello include small amounts of Syrah, Pinot Noir and Merlot, which were first planted by Antinori for experimental purposes in the 1970s.

Experimintation Work

For many years, Antinori has identified, selected and separately vinified Sangiovese clones found on Tignanello estate. Bud wood from these clones is sent to a nursery in Bolgheri to be propagated for use in replanting Antinori vineyards. Other experiments have involved planting Sangiovese in the poorest soils to deter its propensity to over-produce, as well as giving it the best possible exposures to resolve its problem of late ripening. Vine density per hectare has been greatly increased for more concentrated fruit. Also, Antinori experiments with vine heights to achieve specific desired results. In the cellars significant investments have recently been made, including new wooden open fermenters that have given increased complexity and softness to the wine. Equipment that ensures that the grapes arrive for crushing perfectly unbroken has also been introduced. The entire processing is carried out very gently, thus avoiding the release of bitter tannins into the grape juice.

 

Wines

Tignanello and Solaia are grown, vinified and aged at Santa Cristina, while other grapes grown on the estate are used in the production of Santa Cristina, Villa Antinori Riserva Chianti Classico, and Tenute Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva.

 

History

The Tignanello estate, which has been in the Antinori family since the mid-1800s, is built on the foundations of an estate that dates back to 1346, when the land belonged to the Buondelmonti family, as did much of the Pesa Valley region. The estate was subsequently ceded to the Niccolini family who renamed it Poggio Niccolini. In the 17th century, it passed to a junior branch of the Medici family who named it Fonte de Medici, and then to the Antinoris. In 1900, Antinori enlarged the estate by purchasing and consolidating several smaller adjacent farms, and in 1993 renovated and expanded the cellars to 2,286 square metres and installed 10 1,500 gallon oak fermentors. Today, the property includes 37 hectares (160 acres) of olive groves for the production of limited amounts of Antinori extra-virgin olive oil.

 

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