This red wine broke with the traditions of Tuscan winemaking in 1971. It was the first Chianti in which Bordeaux varieties were added to the typical Tuscan Sangiovese grape and which was matured in barriques. The result was a full-bodied red cuvée with a well-balanced fruitiness and high quality. Although this meant a loss of the DOCG quality label, real wine-lovers do not let this deceive them – with the invention of the Super Tuscan, the reputation of Italy's red wines rightly increased.
Tignanello – a wine that breaks all the rules
Tignanello revolutionized winemaking in Italy. When it first appeared on the market in 1971, it broke the rules of the winegrowing region. This was all thanks to the audacity and innovative spirit of the estate owner Marchese Piero Antinori and his head wine expert Giacomo Tachis. They felt that the regulations governing Chianti Classico were too restrictive and experimented with other grape varieties and vinification techniques. They overthrew conventions by changing the specified blend of grape varieties. This gave their Chianti red wine a completely new expression.
They dispensed with the compulsory amount of white grapes and looked towards international wine styles. The main Tuscan grape variety, Sangiovese, was blended with other varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. In doing so, the winemakers paid homage to the usual blend used in top Bordeaux wines. Another innovation was the first ever maturing of a Chianti red wine in a barrique. The result was impressive: the new production method refined the wine and had an extremely positive effect on the flavour of the Tignanello wine.
However, the authorities viewed the departure from traditional Italian varieties and customs with scepticism. They removed the DOCG quality label from the Tignanello estate. The red cuvée only found its way onto the market as a table wine (vino da tavola) – a classification that is really only given to mediocre wines designed for a casual drink. This had no effect on its success. Other countries in particular recognized the quality. Wine-lovers in the US especially admired the new creation from Tuscany. The success story was under way.
Tignanello wine gained fame with its labelling as a Super Tuscan. It was given this name by US wine journalists who celebrated the new style of wine with enthusiasm. Other Italian winemakers soon turned their backs on the strict DOCG requirements too. This resulted in Sassicaia and Brunello di Montalcino. In 1992 the Minister for Agriculture, Giovanni Goria, looked for a solution to the lack of clarity surrounding the designation. With a new law, he created a quality category for top-quality country wines (vins de pays): Indicazione Geografica Tipica. Although DOCG status was still not permitted, Tignanello gained a higher official classification in this way.
Today, Tignanello stands for red wines that do not meet the production regulations of a DOC or DOCG wine, but that are still of high quality, sometimes of an even higher quality than classified premium wines. The strict selection of grapes reflects the high standards. The red Chianti cuvée is only produced in the best years. If the quality of the grapes is not good enough, the wine is not produced. The 2013 Tignanello is a particularly outstanding vintage, for example.
Character of Tignanello red wines
A gleaming garnet-red colour, Tignanello generally comprises 80 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and five percent Cabernet Franc. Anyone purchasing a Tignanello will acquire a full-bodied and fruity wine with an intensely fragrant bouquet. The high proportion of Sangiovese ensures a full-bodied expression and a pleasant berry aroma, while the blending with the Bordeaux varieties rounds off the flavour. The well-balanced texture and tannin structure leave a velvety impression. Tignanello wines are also characterized by a pronounced fruitiness and multifaceted bouquet. The predominant berry aroma is enhanced by subtle spicy notes and bittersweet hints of chocolate and tobacco.
The Tignanello winery
Tignanello is at home in the Chianti Classico winegrowing area not far from the village of Montefiridolfi. The area under vine is limited. The winegrowers harvest only the best grapes for the wine from a single vineyard covering just 47 hectares. This is located on the slopes above the Val di Pesa valley at an altitude of around 400 metres. The red grapes have an optimum soil structure there, with a mixture of sandstone, limestone and marl aiding growth. The microclimate is also ideal. The south-west-facing slopes provide the vines with a sunny location where the grapes can ripen fully and be harvested late. To make sure the best grapes are selected and can be processed without coming to any harm, they are picked by hand. The individual varieties are matured in barriques for 12 to 14 months before being blended by the Tignanello cellar masters. The estate which has given rise to so many modern ideas has a long history. Wines have been made here for 600 years. The Tignanello winery has belonged to the Marchesi Antinori family since the 19th century. Do you wish to sample a 2013 Tignanello or a different vintage of the full-bodied Super Tuscan? In the Mondovino online shop and Coop sales outlets, you are sure to find the bottle you are looking for. You can purchase a high-quality Tignanello which will be more than value for money.