Solaia 2014 has just released on the Place de Bordeaux, the last of the leading Super Tuscans to release this year. Solaia is the flagship wine of Piero Antinori and the crown in his glorious winemaking career. In 2014, Solaia has been awarded an excellent 95 points from James Suckling and Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate, who for once are aligned on their scores. Larner writes that ‘It opens to dark fruit aromas with crushed mineral, pipe tobacco, pressed flower and toasted spice. Its appearance is midnight black and profound.’ Suckling follows suit ‘A dense and fruity red with chocolate, dark berry and cedar character. Full and chewy with a flavorful finish. This is extremely good for the vintage’. It is, in fact they reduced their production by 40% to produce this stunning exemplar of great terroir and winemaking.
The last 12 months has seen a change of pace for new vintages of Solaia, which traditionally has been slow out of the investment blocks for 24 months after bottling. However, since last year’s 2013 release the 2012 has risen 17.5%, suggesting that market demand on release, especially in the UK, is benefiting from the weak pound to euro FX rates and the removal of any parallel importing. Indeed, the 2010, which has been in bottle for four years rose 23% since last year. This suggests that today’s release price of £790 per case of six offers good short term potential – there has been no increase in price in euro terms in 2014. Meanwhile the closest vintage to the 2014’s critic score is the 2006, which also has 95 points from Suckling and 94 for the Wine Advocate and trades at £1,100 per case of six. Solaia displays an obvious vintage premium and even with a 10 year time horizon, the market is willing to pay over £1,000 per case of six.
Solaia’s distribution mimics that of Masseto, released earlier this week, the most prestigious wine of his brother, Ludovico Antinori. Solaia, Ornellaia and Sassicaia make up the holy trinity of Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Super Tuscan wines. Solaia produces far fewer bottles per year than Ornellaia and Sassicaia, who produce 12,000 cases and 15,000 cases respectively; Solaia make less than 7,500 in the average vintage, with less than 5,000 in 2014. As such, allocations will be stretched, creating more price pressure than normal on release.
The Marchesi Antinori family are world famous for two wines; one is Tignanello, the other Solaia, which since 1978 has become Antinori’s and one of Italy’s most prestigious wines. Solaia is normally the mirror reflection of Tignanello, made up of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Solaia translates loosely as ‘The sunny one’, aptly named to reflect the glorious sunshine that showers the eponymously named ten hectare vineyard; situated 350-400 metres above sea level, on wonderful terroir of calcareous rock (alberese). The site is adjacent to Tignanello in the Mercatale Val di Pesa zone (Greve) of Chianti Classico, further inland than Sassicaia and Ornellaia (coastal Bolgheri). In 2014, Solaia spent 18 months in entirely new French oak, with various lots fermented separately to maximise harmony.
Along with the 6x75cl cases we are pleased to offer limited quantities of the rare and desirable larger formats for the 2014 on request, including magnums, double magnums and imperials.
Solaia 2014, 6×75 - £790 IB
95 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
The 2014 Solaia will be released during the second half of 2017. This is a fine-tuned expression that shows a focused sense of detail and careful attention. The quota of Cabernet Franc has been upped by a hair and this makes a big difference, especially in terms of the wine’s bouquet. Otherwise, this celebrated Tuscan blend is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese. It opens to dark fruit aromas with crushed mineral, pipe tobacco, pressed flower and toasted spice. Its appearance is midnight black and profound. The wine delivers a sense of sheer excitement and nervousness that will subside with another few years of bottle age. Nonetheless, I think a certain amount of that bright edginess or rigidness will always be part of this cool vintage Solaia. In the mouth, the wine is firm, compact and dense. The tannins are chiseled to the point of sublime integration. Marchesi Antinori made 40% less Solaia in this vintage in order to maintain the quality you taste here.
95 Points, James Suckling
A dense and fruity red with chocolate, dark berry and cedar character. Full and chewy with a flavorful finish. This is extremely well done for the vintage. Needs two or three years to soften. Better in 2020.
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