I was delighted to receive an invitation to the Antinori wine tasting hosted with Berkmann Wine Cellars before Christmas at Bellini restaurant in Liverpool. The Antinori family have been producing wines in Tuscany for six centuries and exporting it for four, so I knew that it would be a real treat to sample some of their famous wines.
Antinori wines has always been a family business and in 1900 they acquired the Tinganello estate, commencing a period of expansion which continues to this day. Antinori has become one of the most notable wine producers in Tuscany and is highly regarded in Italy as a whole for its plethora of excellent wines. The Antinori family motto is that “ancient roots play an important role in our philosophy, but they have never held back our spirit of innovation”, which reflects their eagerness to move with the times whilst remaining true to traditional wine making heritage.
I was warmly welcomed by Leigh Harmes, Bruno Ricard, Luca Soldo and the owner of Bellini Alain Willis. The restaurant looked so festive with Christmas garlands, lights and trees decorating the space, and we all gathered around a high table which had been set with an impressive selection of Antinori wines which we were to sample during the evening. We started with a beautiful selection of whites, firstly Orvieto Campogrande Santa Cristina 2014 from the Umbria region which was a soft and light. I smiled to see that this was described as ‘dangerously easy to drink’ on the tasting notes, as I would definitely agree with this summation.
The second choice of Villa Antinori Bianco 2014 from the Tuscany region was a delicious blend of grapes which you would not always find together, such as Riesling, Malvasia and Pinot Grigio. This wine has been made since the 1920’s and it has a refreshing and distinctive flavour. I also raised a smile by saying that I loved the label of the wine, which depicts the beautiful Italian villa. I caused further hilarity by explaining that I often choose wine based on the design of the label! Oops, but it turned out that this is not uncommon as everyone else agreed that it is certainly a big factor in how people choose their wine! This just goes to reflect the importance of branding as well as content!
Bramito Chardonnay 2014 from the Umbria region was a personal favourite of mine amongst the whites, as I always like Chardonnay and this one had plenty of oak with a lovely soft vanilla finish.
All the guests were enjoying the wine tasting immensely and we were treated to huge platters of food from the Bellini menu, consisting of olives, cheese, chicken, charcuterie and Italian style flatbreads. The food was delicious and it complemented the wines perfectly as we moved on to the selection of reds. Barbera d’Asti Fiulot from Piedmont was a juicy and soft red which was so easy to drink. This versatile wine comes from the commonly grown Barbera grape and it had plenty of fruit. The second red Le Maestrelle Santa Cristina 2013 from Tuscany, was described as a perfect introduction to the style of Chianti and the Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese blend of grapes created a full bodied wine which pairs well with food.
Neprica Tormaresca 2013 was from Puglia, known as the heel of Italy, was described as sunshine in a glass due to its light bodied style, and I could picture this as a perfect easy drinking red for the summer months.
Chianti Classico Peppoli 2012 was a perfect full bodied red, with loads of flavour which is perfect to pair with red meats such as beef. This elegant and historical wine had both character and flavour in spades.
Next it was on to Trentangeli Tormaresca 2013 again from Puglia. It was fascinating to hear Luca explain that Puglia is often seen as the playground of wine, and that it is a really up and coming region for wine, where plenty of trial and error is being used to create some really exciting new wines. This was one of them, a really different wine with plenty of boldness and a complex flavour which really packs a punch.
Lastly we tried Il Bruciato Guado Al Tasso 2013, from Tuscany. This was an interesting wine to end the evening with, as it was described as Italy meets France, a baby Super Tuscan wine produced in the Bolgheri area which is famous for its excellent wines. The whole evening was a big success, it was a privilege to be in the company of so many wine experts and to hear them talk about the different flavours, grapes and techniques. The more wine tastings I attend, the more I realise that wine is so much more than just a drink, indeed it is a part of history, culture and heritage which often tells a fascinating story. I was delighted to sample so many Antinori wines and to learn so much along the way.
What do you all think, have you ever been to a wine tasting and what types of wine are your favourites? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time,