Badia a Passignano

Vintage

Classification

Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva

Blend

100% Sangiovese

Climate

The end of Winter and the beginning of Spring were mild and very dry, which favoured early budding of the vines and accelerated the vegetative cycle - until the stabilising effect of some rainfall in May.
Flowering took place in the same average period as other vintages.
June was very hot and this accelerated the growth of the grapes and of the vegetative cycle by about 10-12 days.
The Summer months were very hot and sunny with temperatures well above average - particularly in July with long periods without any rainfall. This meant that the growth rate of the vines slowed down slightly and, on average, the grapes ripened about a week earlier than in average vintages.
In all the estates a careful thinning of the red variety grapes was carried out during the month of August, in order to ensure that the remaining grapes would ripen in the best conditions.

Vinification

This Riserva was produced from bunch-selected grapes from the estate of #Badia a Passignano#, harvested between mid September and the beginning of October. The grapes were destemmed, lightly crushed, and macerated partly in 50 hectoliter wooden open fermentors (with periodic cap submersion for better extraction of color, complexity and tannins), and partly in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days. During this time the alcoholic fermentation was also completed; most of the the wine was then transferred into new, one-year-old and two-year-old 225 liter French oak barrels (Alliers and Troncais). Malolactic fermentation was completed by the year's end. The wines were then racked, and after careful blending of the different vineyard lots to produce the master blend, the majority of the wine was returned to the barriques ( and a small part in barrels of 500-700 liter capacity) for about 14 months of ageing , followed by bottling and a further period of at least 12 months in the bottle before release.
Alcohol : 13,5% Vol.

Historical data

Badia a Passignano Riserva is produced exclusively from the finest, most highly selected grapes grown on the estate of the same name situated in the Chianti Classico area. The abbey, which is located in an area that has been inhabited at least since the Etruscan period, is one of the finest fortified abbeys in the area. It has been renowned for its wine production for over 1,000 years. The Antinori family bought the 325 hectares' estate around the abbey (which is own by Vallombrosian monks)in 1987, including the use of the monastery cellars.
The #Badia a Passignano# estate has served to take Piero Antinori's experimental work with Tuscan wines to a higher level, in preparation for the 21st century. "The 1970's and '80s, in Tuscany, were characterized primarily by the production of vini da tavola with blends of indigenous and non-indigenous grape varieties, principally due to the lack of careful selection of Sangiovese grapes grown in the '60s," he says. "Fundamentally, we were taking an enological rather than a viticultural approach. Now I want to produce wines that more readily reflect the unique identity, personality and peculiarities of the Tuscan soil, as expressed through the Sangiovese grape. In a sense, Badia a Passignano completes the cycle that began when we circumvented the laws to create Tignanello."
The individuality of the wine is reflected by its label, which is produced following the unique process used to make Swiss bank notes. It depicts a modern rendering of Badia a Passignano and a vine leaf, and was designed by Piero Antinori, who says, "The label reflects genuine authenticity, because it is impossible to reproduce or counterfeit". He selected this symbolism to have the label serve as an analogy to the wine and reflect its value; the labels were engraved and printed in Switzerland by descendants of Christoffel Froschauer, who was honored for his printing by the city of Zurich in 1519, and whose firm has been the printer of Swiss National Bank notes since 1603.

Tasting notes

Traditional in its complexity, roundness, and elegance, yet modern in its intense fruitiness, accessibility and soft tannins. Deep dark cherry color, with concentrated cherry and chocolate flavours. On the palate, the 1998 vintage results particularly structured.

Awards

91/100 score

THE WINE ADVOCATE Oct. 2001 Robert Parker

2001 U.S.A.

88/100 score

THE WINE SPECTATOR Nov. 2001

2001 U.S.A.