The season in the Chianti Classico production zone was characterized by a cold and rainy winter, with rainfalls guaranteeing a good supply of water for the following spring and summer, initially mild in temperature. As a consequence the budding of the vines, was quite regular and well within seasonal averages for the period. Both flowering and bud break were regular, even though the rains had a certain influence on the size of the berries and bunches which, in early summer, were ahead of their normal ripening schedule. The vines continued to vegetate in a notable way during the summer, with a month of August and an initial ten day period in September which were significantly warm and dry. The second half of September and early October were very favorable both in terms of daily sunlight and with significant temperature excursions from daytime and nighttime very beneficial for the balance of the wine and richness of aromatic compounds. Both Sangiovese and Cabernet needed many days to complete their maturation, to first fifteen days of October. The quality of the harvested crop brought to the winery was of very high quality indeed, both in terms of the healthiness of the grapes and, above all, of their quality, raising expectation of a vintage of true excellence. Total annual rainfall: 74 centimeters (29.5 inches) Total rainfall April 1st – October 31st: 29 centimeters (11.5 inches) Average daily temperatures April 1st – October 31st: 21.7 °centigrade (71° Fahrenheit)
Vineyards underwent crop thinning and bunch selection during the growing season and the grapes were picked entirely by hand depending on the various parcels. The first grape variety to fully ripen was the Cabernet Franc, picked between September 27th and September 29th. In October Sangiovese harvest began and lasted for a total of twelve days. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, harvested between October 10th and October 14th were the last to be picked. Once in the cellars, the grapes were delicately destemmed and the individual berries selected on the sorting table; to insure that berries which were not completely ripe, a rarity in this vintage, were removed and only those which were fully ripe went into the fermenting tanks. During the fermentation and maceration in the conical fermenters the must was slowly transformed into wine, with maximum focus on trying to obtain freshness of aromas, extraction of color, and a handling of the tannins aimed to suppleness and finesse. These operations required great sensitivity and experience, particularly during the moment when the wine was ready to be run off it skins, a decision taken only after meticulous and constant tasting. Once the wine was separated from its skins it was put through a complete malolactic fermentation in small oak barrels. The aging then began in French and Hungarian oak barrels and lasted for approximately 16-18 months; during which time the various lots of wine, each fermented separately on the basis of their individual grape varieties and the characteristics of vineyard plot and cultivation practices, remained in barrel. The lots were then assembled a few months before bottling.
A very intense ruby red in color with purple highlights, the wine is immediately and suavely convincing in its aromas and harmonious in its expression of the characteristics of Chianti Classico as a zone. The nose is redolent of licorice, violets, and cherries under spirits together with notes of vanilla, chocolate, and sweet toasty oak, all of excellent intensity and sweet elegance. Fresh and savory flavors on the persistent finish and aftertaste add length and a convincing finesse.
Tignanello was the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques, the first contemporary red wine blended with untraditional varieties (specifically Cabernet) and one of the first red wines in the Chianti Classico region that didn’t use white grapes. Tignanello is a milestone. It’s produced with a selection of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The label was designed by Silvio Coppola in 1974 for the release of Tignanello 1971. The idea to commission this artist was discussed at an event at Castello della Sala in 1973. Silvio Coppola was an important Italian graphic and interior designer who was famous for his minimalist lighting fixtures and austere furniture but also for book cover designs for Italian publishing company Feltrinelli. Silvio Coppola was the perfect match for the job.
Marchese Piero Antinori, the current Honorary President, decided to have his father, Niccolò Antinori, sign the label as a sign of recognition for his father’s confidence in him.
The historic family crest of the Antinori family
Tignanello’s stylized “Sun” by Silvio Coppola
Mild and dry winter weather marked the beginning of the 2020 growing season in Chianti Classico, only at the end of March did the area experience a brief cold spell. These climatic conditions prompted early bud break. Spring brought average rainfall and rather cool temperatures while the following summer months were hot, uninterrupted by extreme heat events and favored with brief periods of rain showers that provided grape clusters with perfect conditions for optimal growth and ripening. The month of September, when harvesting operations got underway, was defined by scattered light precipitation, especially at the end of the month, that allowed the fruit to complete phenolic maturity. The harvest window was an intense three weeks, from September 20th up until October 9th, picking began with Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc and was completed with Cabernet Sauvignon.
This growing season’s climate trends challenged us to be focused and diligent both in the vineyards during harvesting activities and when grapes were brought to the cellar where sorting operations and initial winemaking processes were essential to achieve optimal results. During fermentation in truncated conical tanks, each individual must was macerated on the skins giving particular emphasis to preserving aromas, extracting color, and encouraging desirable tannins that were supple and elegant. Racking was performed after rigorous daily sampling and tasting. Once separated from the skins, the wine was transferred into small oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation to accentuate aromatic finesse and complexity. Aging took place in French and Hungarian oak barrels, partly new and partly second passage, for a total of 15 months: after an initial period of aging the lots separately, they were blended then completed barrel aging. Tignanello, made primarily with Sangiovese and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, underwent an additional 12-month period of aging in the bottle before being released.
Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, a parcel of some 140 acres (57 hectares) with limestone-rich soils and a southwestern exposure at 1150-1325 feets (350-400 meters) above sea level at the Tignanello estate. It was the first Sangiovese wine to be aged in small oak barrels, the first modern red wine to use such non-traditional varieties as Cabernet in the blend, and among the first red wines from the Chianti Classico area to be produced without white grapes. The wine, originally called "Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Tignanello" (a Chianti Classico Riserva from the Tignanello vineyard), was produced for the first time from a single vineyard parcel in 1970, when the blend contained 20% of Canaiolo and 5% of Trebbiano and Malvasia, both white grapes, and the wine aged in small oak barrels. In 1971 it became a Tuscan red table wine rather than a Chianti Classico, and was called Tignanello. In the 1975 vintage the percentage of white grapes was definitively eliminated from the blend. Ever since 1982, the blend has been the one currently used. Tignanello is bottled only in favorable vintages, and was not produced in 1972, 1973,1974, 1976, 1984, 1992, and 2002.
Intensely ruby red in color, Tignanello 2020 has exceptional aromatic complexity: notes of ripe red fruit especially cherries, strawberries and blackberries are accompanied by delicate floral hints of violets, mallow blossoms and roses. Its bouquet is completed by notes of roasted coffee and cocoa powder. The vibrant entry gives way to a caressing layered mouthfeel. The wine closes with spicy notes of pepper and licorice that merge with pleasant sensations of aromatic herbs for a fresh, lengthy finish.
James Suckling 97/100 Vinous 96/100
The Tenuta Tignanello estate is in the heart of Chianti Classico, in the gently rolling hillsides between the Greve and Pesa river valleys. It extends over an area of 319 hectares (788 acres), of which about 130 (321 acres) are dedicated to vines. Two of the estate’s prized vineyards are on the same hillside, Tignanello and Solaia, on soils that originated from marine marlstone from the Pliocene period rich in limestone and schist. The vines enjoy hot temperatures during the day and cooler evenings throughout the growing season. The estate’s two signature wines, Solaia and Tignanello, are produced from these vineyards and have been defined by the international press as “among the most influential wines in the history of Italian viticulture”. According to Marchesi Antinori, Solaia and Tignanello are an ongoing challenge and a never-ending passion. The Tignanello estate has vineyards of indigenous Sangiovese grapes as well as some other untraditional varieties such as Cabernet Franc.
Calcareous rocky soils with alberese (marl limestone) and marl.