The Antinori family has been making wine for over six hundred years, but it is Piero Antinori who can take the credit for establishing a worldwide reputation for the wines with, in particular, his DOCG–defying Tignanello and Solaia. Solaia itself, the subject of today’s release, occupies just 20 prime hectares of vines in the 140 hectare Tignanello estate. With south-westerly exposure the vineyards are situated between 350-400 metres above sea level and planted with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc.
After the warmth of the ‘11 vintage, the ‘12 represents a welcome return to a fresher, more classical style. Weighing in at 13.5% Abv the current vintage is a whole degree lower than the 2011, a fact borne out by the ‘12s greater emphasis on taut fruit, elegance and refinement. Tasting it last week we were struck by the highly inviting and complex notes of spice and leather; the sappy Sangiovese element seems to speak particularly strongly this year lending the wine a tremendous sense of lift and vitality.
‘Sudden influx of oriental spices, some freshly tanned leather, a gripping yet fine tannic weave, a little wildness to the small crunchy red berry fruit, a minerality on the finish that gives superb shape and length, restrained and quite cool in character, not quite austere but heading that way, taut and alive and so much the better for it. Very good. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak.’ Justerini & Brooks
‘Another intense, tightly-wound wine, the 2012 Solaia is likely to require a number of years in bottle before it is ready to drink. Graphite, smoke, plums, black cherries, rose petal and mint meld together effortlessly in the glass. Here, too, the style is all about grace and finesse. The 2012 Solaia is going require patience, but all the elements are in the right place. In 2012, the Cabernet Franc is nearly 7% of the blend, which is on the high side’ 94/100 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, September 2015
‘Extremely impressive ripe dark fruits of blueberries, plums and blackberries follow through to a full body, round texture and bright acidity. The finesse and depth to this red is stunning making it a wonderful successor to the 2011 Solaia. Needs three or four years to soften and open. Better in 2018.’ 97/100 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, August 2015