Showing posts with label Tignanello. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tignanello. Show all posts

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Does my Favorite Thanksgiving Wine make me a Bad Person?

Of all of the wines I drank over the long Thanksgiving weekend, my favorite was, without question, a wine from Tuscany. My friend Mike most generously opened and shared his only bottle of 1990 Tignanello. Yes, I drank a Super-Tuscan, and I loved it. And I love the fact that I loved it.

Tignanello is not hipster wine. The card-carrying Natural Wine crown probably has little or no interest in Tignanello. Some of them would probably wave their hand at Tignanello, brush it aside. This is part of something that I find rather silly in the wine world right now - it can be clique-y and shallow, like high school. People identify with a group (think Goths, punks, hippies, jocks, etc.) and give themselves fully unto that group, ceasing to think for themselves. It becomes easy when you're a punk to assume that whatever the hippie or the jock said is lame. But did you really listen? Of course not.

Well, I listened to 1990 Tignanello, and I'm so happy that I did. As President Obama likes to say, "Let me be absolutely clear about this." The 1990 Tignanello I drank was a gorgeous wine. Mike decanted it an hour before we drank it, and I was worried that all that oxygen would deaden the wine. Not so. It was very much alive, and in my Burgundy glass it smelled like the fluffy underside of a well-worn very fine leather belt. There were tobacco notes too, and the mellowest of stewed red and orange fruits. This wine continued to blossom in the glass, so full of character and charm, such a complete and beautiful expression of mature red wine. Its fragrance stayed with me for quite a while after the last sip.

The new release of this wine, 2006 I think, costs about $80, and it seems that it will run you over $200 if you want to buy the 1990. So I'm not going to start filling my cellar with this stuff. But that wasn't my point anyway. What interests me here, outside of the beautiful moments of actually drinking this wine with friends and talking about it, is the idea that some people think there is something intrinsically wrong with Tignanello.

The Antinori growers and wine makers were amongst the very first to blend Tuscan Sangiovese with the non-native grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Tignanello contains about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Antinori's Tignanello was a big part of the beginning of the Super-Tuscan craze that ultimately ended with the huge Brunello scandal. Jeremy Parzen of Do Bianchi is an expert on the whole Brunello scandal, so check out his writings on the subject if it interests you.

Tignanello, by the way, is a vineyard of 47 hectares. Think about how big that is - 47 hectares. Imagine how many bottles they produce every year, bottles that retail for upwards of $75. We're talking about Bordeaux-type revenues, here.

Is this wine partly to blame for the bastardization of Tuscan wine? Is Tignanello bad? And if it is bad, can it still taste good? The 1990 tasted great, that much I can tell you.