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The 2012 Solaia is the ultimate comfort wine: It serves as a beautiful monument to the potential of Italian wine. Let me give you some context. My lukewarm review of the 2011 vintage caused some heads to turn. Happily, the previous vintage has served as a springboard for this current release. Both 2011 and 2012 come from hot climatic conditions, but these wines are very different in style and content. The 2011 heat softened the lines that make up the varietal identity of this celebrated Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. Those lines are presented in sharp focus with the 2012 edition. The nose is redolent of dark berry, crushed mineral, plum, spice and touch of white pepper. The wine is integrated and seamless, but it speaks with a strong and articulate voice.
I had my doubts about the 2012 vintage until my visit to Antinori's Tenuta Tignanello in Chianti Classico. The wines presented -- and the 2012 Solaia in particular -- demonstrate that great wines were made in this challenging growing season that started off very hot and ended very cool. Marchesi Antinori General Manager Renzo Cotarella with the Marchese Piero Antinori walked me through a grand tasting of the wines they make in Umbria and various parts of Tuscany. When I got to spend some intimate time with the latest bottle of the extended Solaia family, I was absolutely smitten. The 2011 vintage was also a hot year and the Solaia showed less dimension. With the 2012 vintage, we are happily reunited with the range of nuances and depth of complexity that makes this one of Italy's A-list wines. The Antinori family owns various properties in the Chianti Classico area including Badia a Passignano, Tenuta Tignanello and Peppoli. They recently purchased a new property called San Sano not from from Castello di Ama in Gaiole-in-Chianti. The property has a potential for 84 hectares of vines and is located at 450 meters above sea level. The soils are very rocky with heavy deposits of Galestro and Alberese stone. The area is known for slow-ripening and very aromatic expressions of Sangiovese. I look forward to tasting more fruit from this site.
91 Points - Wine Advocate
Sale Price: $229.99
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Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most prominent dark-skinned grape varieties except Merlot in terms of area under vines, but which comprises our largest selection of wines. Grown in just about every wine producing region and climate, Cabernet Sauvignon can express a huge range of aromas, from green peppers in cool climates through to dark jammy fruit in hot regions. Common aromas include blackcurrants, mint, graphite, and forest floor, to name a few. Maturation in small oak barrels can develop a complex range of aromas from cedar wood, cigar box and tobacco to eucalyptus and undergrowth. Cabernet Sauvignon’s success is partly due to its ability to adapt to a range of soils and climates. It is the main constituent of the Bordeaux blend in the revered communes of Pauillac, St. Estephe and St. Julien, and has achieved equal success in California’s Napa Valley. It is grown extensively throughout Southern Australia, with some outstanding examples from the Terra Rossa soil of Coonawarra. Cabernet Sauvignon also plays an increasing role in Tuscany, Italy, where it is blended with native varieties such as Sangiovese to produce the Super Tuscans.
With vines stretching from its most southerly Mediterranean islands all the way to the foothills of the Alps, Italy has, just behind France and Spain, the most land under vines and exports more than any other country. With dozens of regions,and an even greater number of indigenous varieties particular to those regions, understanding all of Italy's wine can be a thoroughly exciting but lifetime long challenge. The most popular regions include; Piedmont, the home of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Muscato, to name a few; Tuscany, known for Sangiovese, particularly in the Chianti area and the town of Brunello; And thirdly the Veneto, for its Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. Southern Italy's regions; Abruzzo, Campagnia and Puglia, not to forget the islands of Sicily and Sardinia are a great source of food-friendly and very affordable wines.
Tuscany is practically synonymous with Italian wine. Red wine, principally made from Sangiovese, accounts for most of the region’s production. Whether it’s a light Chianti, bold Brunello di Montalcino, or fruit-forward Super Tuscan there is a wine for just about everyone. Other sub-regions within Tuscany include Maremma, Bolgheri, and Rosso di Montalcino.
Sub-Region: Super Tuscan (IGT)
Red wine is wine made from dark-coloured grape varieties. The color of red differs based on the grapes variety or varieties used.
Interestingly, black grapes yield a juice that is greenish-white. The actual red color comes from anthocyan pigments (also called anthocyanins) from the skin of the grape (exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which produce a red colored juice). Most of the production centers around the extraction of color and flavor from the grape skin.