Inspired by Piero Antinori's groundbreaking Tignanello ($95), Villa Antinori Toscana IGT offers exceptional value at a mere $14.99. Like Tignanello, it departs from the traditional Chianti formula in terms of grape variety, while at the same time remaining true to its roots as wine that draws its distinctive character from the traditional Sangiovese grape. Although the blend includes 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah, it is the Sangiovese (55%) that defines the character of the wine, just as with Tignanello (80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc).Unusually powerful in the 2011 vintage, the 2011 Villa Antinori Toscana IGT serves up a huge bouquet of red berry fruit with hints of raspberry, cassis, and toasty vanilla oak. This is followed on the palate by generously packed-in flavors of dark berry, black pepper and spice notes. Showing no shortage of fruit or structure, this wine has an aging potential that might even rival that of Tignanello, at least over the first 7-10 years of its evolution. --Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education
Aged for 10 months in a combination of French and traditional Slavonian oak barrels, the 2011 Poggio Nardone Rosso di Montalcino sports a deep royal ruby color with subtle garnet flashes in the light. The bouquet, a bit reticent at first, releases beautifully with a quick swirl of the glass, revealing notes of fresh berries, wild violets, and subtle hints of damp forest floor. On the palate, the fruit shows an unusual degree of precision and penetration, the mark of a great vineyard. Although the flavors are classic Montalcino, spicy Sangiovese with textbook notes of roast chestnut and new earth, there is a definite nod to the highly polished, understated style of the Piedmontese neighbors to the north, Barolo and Barbaresco. A wine of understated grace, that just seems to get better and better with each sip. At this young stage, I do recommend pulling the cork approximately one hour before serving, to allow the wine to reveal itself fully.
Vibrant notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry mark a brisk entry, after which the wine rolls out copious amounts of juicy, chewy, supple fruit, seasoned with a deft touch of vanilla and spice from partial aging in new oak barrels. The palate impression is succulent and graceful, with plenty of verve and lift. Ready to drink now, but has the potential for short-term aging of 18 months to 2 years.