Uber palates will still chase the Super Tuscan Tignanello to add sparkle to their cellars and meals, but after tonight many more of us will think of daughters and farmers when we hear the Antinori name.
Morley Safer sat at the dinner table of the currently reigning Antinori family and aired a 60 Minutes segment during prime time tonight, revealing a $200m business that has remarkably remained a family wine and farming operation since at least 1385. Over the years, various Antinoris and their wines have been recognized by popes, the Wine Spectator’s top 10 list, and Italian wine lovers and critics around the world. The Antinori universe is now complete with private jets, stables, and vineyards and villas inside Italy and around the world. Luxuries fit for royalty…and the Antinoris are indeed royal with a current day marchese and a princess to boot.
Buying back a recently sold stake from Whitbread, the operations are fully in the hands of family once again, this time under the supervision of Piero Antinori’s three daughters who have an appreciation for the land and sense of place that defines the fruit they love to farm. While their pricey Tignanello has helped the Antinoris with modern day notoriety in top wine circles, it is their Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva that resonates with me as a $20ish value that rewards often and remains available on so many lists and retail shelves. It’s a wonderful wine that is produced in large quantities and widely distributed. There certainly are better and harder to find Chianti and sangiovese in the market, but a wine this consistently good from a large program like the Antinori’s is my kind of “go to” wine.
As Allegra Antinori told Morley Safer…. forget all the words and descriptions, a wine must be elegant. And like an elegant woman, she says, you know it when you see it. For me, Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva can look just like that.