A Fine Wine – Tignanello 1997


I first tasted Tignanello from Antinori on my first trip to Italy back in 1998. It is a smooth wine with soft tannins, but plenty of depth and complexity. The 1997 has aged well retaining its softness and fruit of the cherry/berry persuasion. Decanted for over an hour before service, it lacked any harshness, but retained a nice, long finish. with a reasonable alcohol content of 13.5%, this  wine stood up well to a variety of foods including a zesty lasagna, brussels sprouts with pancetta and an acidic cannelini bean and tomato salad. It was also lovely to sip on its own.

Tignanello is a single-vineyard wine from the large Italian wine company Antinori. From the Santa Cristina Estate in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, Tignanello created the category of "Super-Tuscan."  Previously conforming to the rules designating it a "Chianti Classico  Riserva," Tignanello first deviated from those rules in 1971 losing the designation"Chianti Classico" and being "demoted" to the category of "Vino di Tavola." It wasn't until the 1975 vintage that white wine grapes were kept entirely out of Tignanello. The blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc has been the same since the 1982 vintage. Many wines have since followed the lead of this true maverick, but it still remains one of the best of its genre.

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