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January 30, 2015

Antinori Tignanello 2012

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Tignanello is one of the most awaited and exciting releases of the year and we are delighted to be able to offer a pre-release of the 2012 at £265 per case of six. Tignanello is a darling across the world and one of the few major names to still release under £300 per six pack. Its importance is affirmed in its inclusion in the Liv-ex Super Tuscan Index alongside Masseto, Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Solaia; heady company to keep when one considers Tignanello’s release price. It prevails in wine collections globally and is fervently known and recognisable the world over.

Tuscany experiences less vintage variation than Bordeaux and the 2012 vintage looks to be a continuation of their strong run of form. Antonio Galloni has already reported that ’So far, I am enthusiastic about 2012. It was a hot, dry year, but with some rain at the end. The 2012s showed more freshness and vibrancy than the 2011s at the addresses I visited.’ Nathan Wesley of The Wine Spectator has released his 2012 Tuscan report saying’, ’Quality appears to be very good to outstanding in Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Montepulciano, with fine results in Bolgheri.‘ The vintage was hot and dry from June and August causing the vines to slow growth. This followed on from a cool February and a wet May. Taken together this means yields are down 10-30% and in the case of Tignanello the production in 2012 is down by 25%. This reduction means that we can expect the vintage to see price appreciation earlier than normal and global allocation will be stretched, despite Tignanello’s healthy production volumes. In particular Sangiovese from Chianti is promising, which bodes very well for Tignanello 2012, it is a favourite among critics. In fact, Tignanello has averaged 94.8 points over the last five vintages, rising in price a year after its release. We can expect more of the same once the score is released.

 

Vintage Score (AG) Price
2012 Not tasted £265
2011 95 £270
2010 96 £320
2009 94 £280
2008 94 £320
2007 95 £360
2006 92 £350
2005 92 £350
1999 94 £400
1990 94 £650

 
It was Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia that fashioned the genesis of Super Tuscans; however it was Piero Antinori and his chef-d’oeuvre Tignanello that created the vanguard spreading the word and cementing their great potential. In this respect Tignanello was the second official Super Tuscan, using Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Yet unlike Sassicaia it is not a recreation of Bordeaux style claret, instead a representation of the subtlety, depth and versatility of the great and noble Sangiovese.

Tignanello harvest their grapes with great care, to ensure there is no damage. The malolactic fermentation is carried out in French oak and then transferred to French barrique for 14 months, followed by a year in bottle. This harmonises flavours and creates greater complexity. In fact, Tignanello was the first Sangiovese based wine to be aged in small French oak barrels. Tignanello offers an expression of Sangiovese quite unlike any other wine. It is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It is vinified in a Bordeaux style, adding Tuscan flamboyance, hence creating a wine of super complexity and incredible ageing potential.

Tignanello is grown in the Chianti Classico designated area (between Greve and the Pesa river valleys), further inland than the coastal Bolgheri, where the grapes get the right amount of sunshine to ripen fully. The vineyards are cited at extremely high altitude; 1150–1312 feet above sea level, in the Santa Cristina Estate, known also as Tenuta Tignanello. This means the vineyards are found at the highest altitude in the region of Chianti Classico, thus benefiting from a cooler temperature which helps the wine retain a wonderful freshness and balanced acidity.

Tignanello and the Antinori Family
The Antinori name can be traced back to Troy, the Iliad tells of Prince Antenor, who allowed the wooden horse to enter the gates in exchange for his life. A peculiar decision; surely if he had not opened the gates his life would have not been under threat: Odysseus was at the height of his persuasive pomp at the time! Still, on fleeing Troy, he travelled the Adriatic settling in Venice and the house of Antinori later took their name from said lineage. The Antinori family is also famous for Solaia (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese) and Guado al Tasso.

Super Tuscan wines have outperformed the Liv-ex 50 over the last six years and Tignanello trades at 50% less than the other leading Super Tuscan names. Therefore, it is undervalued against its peers and a great perennial buy. Tignanello has high production, with the capacity to make close to 30,000 cases a year, this year only 22,500 cases. This high production is an advantage and means, that for the time being, it is extremely affordable compared to the other four leading Super Tuscans. It also displays a vintage premium; invariably vintages become more expensive as they age. For example the 2004 vintage which is 94 Parker Points trades at £450 and the 1990, £650.

Tignanello sells out quickly; at the attractive £265 pre-release price and considering the 25% reduction in production the 2012 is a wonderful wine to buy now, to resell in the future or to drink and savour.

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