Get ready to have your mind blown. This was unlike anything I have experienced at a winery. Antinori’s stunning flagship just south of Florence is nothing but impressive. This visit happened to be my second, and there was no shortage of wow-factor.
Located between Florence and Siena, Antinori nel Chianti Classico, is a winery and hospitality center built deep into the side of a hill. At an estimated cost of about $180 million (including furnishings and equipment) and seven years in construction, this is an architectural marvel. It is buildings like this that you realize how much the Antinoris are committed to building their legacy, and solidifying their spot as one of the top producers in high quality Italian wine.
Be sure to watch their construction video in the lobby.
And then there’s the history. From a new world perspective it is hard to get your head around the 26 generations over 600 years that have played a role in Antinori’s success, and the story is told throughout your experience there. Only the Chianti Classicos are made at this location, but of course the Antinoris have several other estates in Italy, plus their investments in California, Romania, Chile, Malta and Hungary.
On this visit, my father and I did the Bottaia Cru Tour. This is a great way to experience the best of Antinori and get an indepth view on their winemaking philosophy. It includes a tasting of five wines (including Tignanello, what put them on the map in the Super Tuscan category) plus lunch at their restaurant, Rinuucio 1180.
We started with some history, a museum of artifacts, then onto the amphitheater for a short film about the family. We then entered the barrel cellar and winemaking areas.
The barrel cellar itself is the most beautiful cellar I have ever seen. With no hard edges, everything is a curve. The lighting is almost magical and the overhanging tasting salons are an elegant touch.
As part of the tasting we had the 2017 Castello Della Sala Cervalo, Orvieto Classico, 2014 Pian Della Vigne, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, 2015 Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico DOCG and the 2016 Tignanello.
Our lunch at Rinuucio was pre-set and accompanied by three more wines. The food was great and service was excellent.
This is a “must do” for any visit to Tuscany and an easy drive if you are staying in Florence or Siena.
It is not easy to do justice to the remarkable history of the Antinori family. Their Chianti flagship is a testament to more than 600 years of winemaking. The experience emphasizes their modern outlook and a future commitment to be forward-thinking and innovative. They have created an experience for their customers that is world-class, that redefines what a winery experience is, and one that will keep them coming back for more.