The Family Business magazine has compiled a list of the world’s 100 oldest family companies. The wine industry represents 10 per cent of that list, with producer Antinori the 10th oldest.
Established in 1385, Antinori has been producing wine for more than 600 years. Currently one of the largest companies in Italy, it is managed by the Antinori sisters Albiera, Allegra and Alessia, the 26th generation of the family to do so.
Although the company’s culture is deeply rooted in tradition, it is also famous for its pioneering spirit. It was one of the first producers to experiment with and incorporate international grape varieties into traditional blends. To get around strict industry rules, these wines are modestly classified as IGT (Indicazione geografica tipica), meaning the wine is typical of the region.
Not happy to rest on its laurels, Antinori continues research in the vineyard and cellar to improve the quality of its wines. It now also produces wine in California, Chile, Hungary, Malta and Romania. In Kyrgyzstan, the Antinori family is involved in charity work, training nomadic families in high-altitude winemaking, with a vineyard located 1,500 metres above sea level, by Lake Issyk-Kul.
The sisters each have two children, and the 27th generation is in place to take the helm.
Here are three standout wines from Antinori.
Antinori Cervaro della Sala 2014
The Castello della Sala winery is located in Umbria, bordering Tuscany, in central Italy. Vineyards are planted at 200 to 460 metres. The relatively high altitude and wide temperature ranges between day and night make the vineyard suitable for white varieties and preserving acidity.
The vintage is named after the aristocratic Cervaro family, which owned the estate dating back to the 14th century. In 1940, the Antinori family acquired the property, and the first vintage of Cervaro della Sala was produced in 1985. It’s a blend of 90 per cent chardonnay and 10 per cent grechetto, an indigenous Italian variety from central Italy, used to add body and richness.
Notes of citrus, hazelnut and spicy oak. Elegant and rich with a taut structure. Good fruit intensity, some savouriness with well-integrated oak tannins. Still quite youthful and will benefit from further ageing. HK$550
Antinori Tignanello 2013
Tignanello embodies Antinori’s innovative spirit. It was one of the first Chianti Classico producers to include the non-traditional grape variety of cabernet sauvignon in its wine.
A blend of 80 per cent sangiovese, 15 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 5 per cent cabernet franc. Aged for one year in French and Hungarian oak barrels followed by one year of bottle ageing before release.
Restrained black cherries, some leather. Powerful, full bodied with ripe black fruit. Fine tannins balanced with crisp acidity and finishing very long. A modern interpretation of Chianti Classico that will keep for decades. Offering relatively good value for money. HK$695
Antinori Solaia 2013
Solaia is Antinori’s flagship wine. Grapes sourced for Solaia come from the vineyard parcel on Tignanello hill, at an altitude of 400 metres.
The wines were first produced in 1978 and are composed of a blend of 75 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 20 per cent sangiovese and 5 per cent cabernet franc.
The wine is aged in 100 per cent new French oak for 18 months.
Tightly woven blackcurrant, some mint. Fine, tight-knit structure, restraint and power, with firm tannins and finishing very long. Still a baby and needs cellaring for at least 10 years. HK$1,880
The wines are available from wineshopasia.com.