Cantina Antinori Winery: A Contemporary Twist to Classic Italian Winemaking
When it comes to Italian wineries, there’s one brand that stands head and shoulders above its competition—the Marchesi Antinori Srl. The wine company is one of the largest players in the international wine market. With a history of winemaking excellence that stretches as far back as 1385, it’s not surprising that the brand has become a go-to wine source for both sommeliers and connoisseurs alike.
In the 1970s, the company played a pivotal role in the “Super Tuscan” revolution. The birth of its iconic and game-changing wine, the Tignanello, further cemented the brand’s status as one of the leading wine houses in Italy. Today, the company continues to push the envelope with its state-of-the-art winery.
When Marchesi Antinori officially opened the Cantina Antinori Winery to the public in 2012, it had the international wine scene buzzing with excitement. Find out what makes this contemporary estate one of the must-see sites in Italy through this comprehensive Singapore Wine Vault report.
Bucking Winemaking Traditions
For a business empire that’s been around for over six centuries, Marchesi Antinori is one company that’s not content to simply rest on its laurels. Since the modern-day powerhouse’s humble start in the late-14th century, the brand has consistently taken a fresh and innovative approach to wine production.
In the 1920s, Niccolò Antinori rocked the local wine industry when he began producing Chianti made with Bordeaux grapes. His son, Piero, proved even more adventurous. After years of experimenting on various barriques and wine storage techniques, he launched a wine that would change the landscape of Tuscan winemaking forever—the Tignanello. It was the early 1970s, a period when traditionalists balked at the idea of producing wines that weren’t of the Chianti Classico kind. While Tignanello wasn’t the first “Super Tuscan” to emerge during this time, it was one of the major proponents for change in Chianti Classico DOCG wine standards.
But this progressive attitude towards winemaking isn’t the only lasting achievement in Piero Antinori’s legacy. Business-wise, the company saw rapid expansion in the 1980s and 1990s. The company began investing in wineries and retail stores in California, Bátaapáti (Hungary), and Piedmont. On the home front, the Antinori’s also faced massive change when it came to female involvement in the family business. For 26 generations, men ran the show for Marchesi Antinori. But Piero, who was blessed with three daughters—Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia—thought it was time to buck tradition. His daughters are now vital leaders in the family empire.
Under the guidance of Piero Antinori and his three daughters, the company launched the Cantina Antinori Winery in 2012. For the first time in 627 years, the public were welcome to explore the Antinori’s massive wine estate.
An Architectural Marvel
Now, hearing about a 630-year-old winery naturally conjures images of an antiquated estate—perhaps a dark, musty cellar lined with centuries-old oak barrels. But one foot in the property would tell you that the opposite is true. Hidden in the heart of the stunning Chianti landscape, amid rows of grape vines, olive groves, and oak trees is a magnificent example of contemporary green architecture.
Designed by the highly esteemed Italian architect, Marco Casamonti, the Cantina Antinori Winery exhibits the impressive marriage of functionality and art. For seven years, the highly lauded Hydea engineering firm and the Archea Associati architectural studio worked on creating this architectural wonder. The goal was to make a glorious winery that would minimize both energy output and the structure’s impact on the surrounding countryside.
Staying true to its ‘green’ theme, the sleek, underground wine cellar is made using local natural materials like wood, terracotta, glass, and corten. Much of the facility is barely visible at first glance. From outside the estate, the only part of the winery that’s noticeable is the on-site restaurant’s veranda, which overlooks the actual vineyard. While the facility may look small from afar, it actually includes a restaurant, a winery, a museum, an auditorium, a wine shop, and a bookshop.
The winery’s unique design allows the estate to use vinification ‘gravity,’ a method that prevents damage to the grapes. As a result, the wines produced in the property are usually elegant, mellow, and well-balanced.
Our Wine Recommendations
The Cantina Antinori Winery produces some of the company’s top wines, including the Marchese Antinori, Pèppoli Chianti Classico, Villa Antinori, Vinsanto del Chianti Classico, and the Chianti Classico Riserva. While one of the perks of the wine tour is a sampling of three of the estate’s wines, we recommend grabbing the following bottles when you find them. (Trust us, these are wines that rank high in our list of wine vault favorites.)
Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Red (Toscana). (85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc). Rich, sumptuous, and complex, the iconic Tignanello is a worthy addition to any wine cellar. The wine opens with a fragrant bouquet of ripe berries and black fruits. Its vibrant palate hints at crushed blackberries, licorice, raspberries, and cherries, balanced by a dash of chocolate, a sprinkling of pepper, and a hint of leather. Offers a long, smooth finish.
Pèppoli Chianti Classico. (Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah). For an easy drinking Chianti, the Pèppoli Chianti Classico is always a brilliant option. At first sip, expect large notes of crushed raspberries, fresh cherries, and a touch of ripe strawberries to tickle the palate. Hints of cocoa, mocha, and toasted espresso add an element of earthiness to this lively tipple. Acidity levels are on the high range, so this is wine that’s best paired with slow-cooked meats and tomato dishes.
Antinori Solaia. (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc). A wonderful blend of cassis, overripe blackberries, white truffle, licorice, and tobacco sweetness, the Solaia is a stunning and exotic offering from the Antinori Winery. Its bracing acidity add character to this racy and intense wine. Expect a rich, consistent, and lip-smackingly long finish.
The Antinori Museum and Restaurant
Beyond producing some of the best Chianti Classico wines we’ve ever sampled, the Cantina Antinori Winery is also home to a highly interesting museum and a gorgeous restaurant. History buffs and wine lovers will surely enjoy the must-see museum, which showcases the company’s awards, photographs, documents, and books—some of which are centuries’ old. The museum also features precious sculptures and art pieces from the Antinori’s massive personal collection.
Visitors feeling famished from the tour can enjoy mouthwatering Tuscan fares in the property’s topnotch restaurant, Rinuccio 1180. Beyond the delectable meals and delicious wine, the restaurant also has glass-paneled walls, which give diners a stunning panoramic view of the estate’s vineyards.
Recent Reviews of the Cantina Antinori Winery
Absolutely breathtaking view. This was one of our last stops in Tuscany, and I almost missed the wine tasting. I’m really happy I didn’t. The tour was fantastic! The fact that the cellars are underground made the trip even more exciting. The only improvement I’d like to see is bigger servings of the Chianti (tasting). Other than that, my wife and I are happy as clams.
LuCam88, New Jersey
This isn’t just a winery, it’s an architectural masterpiece. The winery is underground and hidden among the vines. But the minute you see it, it’s just an awesome moment. Very modern and chic but with lots of clay and wood materials. The best part is probably the restaurant. It’s like you’re eating among the vineyards. My sister and I aren’t big Chianti drinkers, but we did like the Peppoli. We hope to visit again soon.
Chris K., Texas
The Cantina Antinori Winery offers guided tours in both English and Italian languages. To book an appointment, call Information at +39 055 2359700, or visit the company’s website.