Florence is a beautiful city!
Those who live there, like me, don’t realize that much, because they are used to walking around it and seeing this wonderful outdoor museum. Some time ago I went to the Piazzetta Antinori, filling my eyes, to go to the Cantinetta Antinori passing from Piazza Piazza Santa Croce, from Piazza della Signoria, Via Calimala, and then along the chic Via Tornabuoni.
I was invited to lunch by the former American Consul of Florence, William McIlhenny, who was passing through Florence, whom I had not seen for some years. The last time I saw him was when I went to visit him in Washington, along with my son Andrea and my wife Sara. Together we visited the White House and the next day we all went to Virginia to visit three leading wineries who knew William, and of course, to taste their wines. William, was in Florence, as American consul, for four years, at the beginning of 2000, and he became passionate about the world of wine and once he retired he started to collaborate with James Suckling, being particularly interested in the wines of the Virginia.
It was a great pleasure to see William again and remember the good times we spent together in the past years. It was the first time I saw the new Cantinetta Antinori in Florence, a wine cellar designed and built, about two months before, by Allegra Antinori, daughter of the Marquis Piero Antinori. It does not seem to be in a restaurant but in a living room where good taste and class reign absolute. As soon as I arrive I am received by Matia Barciuli, chef of the restaurant, and consultant of all the Marchesi Antinori restaurant. Matia showed me the whole environment including a private room and the splendid and efficient kitchens. Since William had not arrived yet, Matia opened a bottle of Perrier Jouet Champagne, Belle Epoque 2008, knowing that it is one of my favorite champagne.
It is a champagne that I particularly love for its elegance and pleasantness.
The nose is striking for its minerality and its aromas of coconut and almond milk (coccoin glue), Marseille soap, grated apple and pear, ironing starch (starch) and a note of pastry. On the palate the bubbles are fine and elegant, a sapid, mineral, harmonious and persistent wine with a slightly green apple and pear finish.
Freshness spreads throughout the mouth (98/100).
As soon as, a few minutes later, William arrived we hugged each other and we remembered the good times we had spent together. William asked me about my son Andrea, for whom he always had a lot of sympathy, also because he speaks English very well.
We choose some dishes of Tuscan cuisine, cooked perfectly, and William proposes me to drink the Solaia vintage 2015 and to follow the Matarocchio of the company Guado al Tasso, vintage 2013.
It was like inviting the hare to run.
As far as the tannin width is concerned, it is important to make the following clarifications so that it can be understood. I feel the tannin of the wine on the upper gum. The total tannin width is 6/6, that is the whole width of the upper gum. Obviously, if the tannin is less wide, it could be for example 5/6 and so on. The width of the tannin is important when the quality of the same is of good or high level. The larger the tannin, the more attention is paid to the wine, but the tannin, as I pointed out, must in any case be of good quality. Let’s move on to the analysis of the wines tasted.
My tasting notes follow.
MARCHESI ANTINORI SOLAIA, vintage 2015
(Grapes: 75% Cabernet Sauvigon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc)
Ruby-purple red, intense, with black reflections.
The olfactory casket, when opened, diffuses aromas of noble boisé, cassis, blueberry, blackberry, mint, eucalyptus, black pepper, light nutmeg, vegetable leather (tends to the sweet scent of leather), cooked ham like “Praga”, rosemary, bay leaves and sage.
The olfactory path continues with intense notes of licorice, very slight green notes typical of cabernet, a slight note reminiscent of the mint fernet branca (I think it is wood), to end with whispers of vinavil glue.
Rich palate with sweet wood notes and black berry fruit mix.
Balanced wine with acid shoulder and tannins that exceed the alcoholic mass. The tannins are wide (5/6) sweet and initially silky, in the end the upper gum is partially dried. The body is generously medium. Fine, elegant and persistent wine that, in my opinion, will need a little rest in the bottle to lose some wood and make the tannins completely silky. I remember the 1997 vintage in which Solaia, at the time of its marketing, had similar characteristics.
At the moment, 2015 is for me, a 99/100 wine that will surely deserve 100/100 over time..
GUADO GUADO AL TASSO
MATAROCCHIO, vintage 2013
(Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon)
Ruby red and intense purple, tending to black.
From the glass spread aromas reminiscent of cooked crushed grapes with grapes, oil paint, “Praga” type cooked ham, blackberry, cassis, black pepper, nutmeg intense, light clove, “sun” soap, cypress berry, cypress, graphite, sea water (resembles white melon and the inner part of the peel of the watermelon), light green pea peel, rosemary, bay leaf, sage, chocolate, to end with toasted peanut caresses.
On the palate the body is medium and has flavors of smoked ham like “Praga”, plum and cassis. Well balanced wine with alcohol mass, silenced by freshness and tannins. The latter are sweet, large (6/6) and silky. Its persistence is long. Nice wine, it has a little less structure than the Solaia 2015 and it feels a little less bosiè.
After lunch and in particular the analysis of the two wines we were happy for many reasons, to have seen each other again and been together for a few hours. With William we then took a walk in the center of Florence, then we said goodbye with the wish to meet again as soon as possible and not after years.
I couldn’t help calling Allegra Antinori the same day to congratulate her on the furnishings and the environment she had created in the new Cantinetta Antinori in Florence.