Solaia

Vintage

Classification

Toscana IGT

Blend

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 20% Sangiovese

Climate

Spring was cold and damp until mid June. The weather then improved and the month of July until mid August was hot and dry. After mid August until mid September, temperatures were below average with some rain. After that time the weather greatly improved and was sunny, dry and very warm. Overall this meant that the grapes were in fact able to ripen perfectly. It was necessary, however, to carry out a severe selection and thinning of the grapes before the harvest, in order to ensure that the grapes remaining on the vines at the time of harvest had the desired good quality. Quantities were generally below average.

Vinification

The grapes from the Solaia vineyard, which are as always severely selected, were among the last to be harvested (starting September 18 for the Cabernets, and the Sangiovese a week later). The grapes were vinified separately and new methods were used which guarantee a very soft processing. Maceration took place in 50 hectoliter open wooden fermentors with periodic cap submersion for better extraction of colour, complexity and softer tannins. During this time (15 days for the Sangiovese and 20 days for the Cabernets), the wine completed its alcoholic fermentation at a temperature never exceeding 30°C. The wine was then transferred into 225 liter French oak barrels (new and one-year-old Troncais and Alliers), where malolactic fermentation was terminated by the year's end. The wines were then racked, blended and then returned to the barriques for about 14 months aging, after which time they were bottled and aged for a further 12 months before release. Alcohol : 13,0% Vol.

Historical data

Solaia, which means the 'sunny one' in Italian, is a 10 hectares (25 acres) southwest-facing vineyard planted 351-396 metres (1,150-1,300 feet) above sea-level on stony calcareous soil of marl and friable albarese rock. It is located at Tignanello estate, contiguous to the homonymous vineyard, which is on the same property, in the Mercatale Val di Pesa zone of Chianti Classico. Antinori first produced a single-vineyard wine from these vines with the 1978 vintage (which was a limited release only in Italy); the initial blend was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, which was repeated in 1979. During following vintages, 20% Sangiovese was introduced and small adjustments were made (according to vintage) to the proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc used, to arrive at today's blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 20% Sangiovese. Solaia was not produced in the 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1992 vintages.

Tasting notes

Intensely fruity, finely structured and complex; balanced, with soft tannins and lingering finish. Displays unmistakable varietal flavor while retaining strong regional character.

Awards

Italian Magazine Award "Tre Bicchieri"

GAMBERO ROSSO Oct. 1998

1998 Italy

Migliori Vini Italiani 1999

LUCA MARONI The Taster of Wine Guide (Best Italian Wines edition 1999)

1999 Italy

Vinalies d'Or

VINALIES INTERNATIONALES Feb. 1999

1999 France