A Story Passed Down Through 26 Generations: Weekend #Wordpour
It's no secret that when I'm not working on copywriting and copy content, I love to enjoy a little liquid magic to reflect on the stories of the lands and brands behind them. So after a challenging week filled with the obstacles and self-doubts so many of us experience, I chose to partake in a wine dinner as a distraction. The wines featured were all terrific examples of terrific producers, but one wine family and the selections stood out more than the others for me. Theirs is a brand story worthy of sharing. Their story and bottle content spans 26 generations and dates back to the 1300s. I can only hope to do justice to the sharing of their story. Allow me to introduce the Antinori Wine Family.
The Antinori family are what we like to call "disruptors" in the business world. They look for new and innovative ways to create success and refuse to copy what has and is already being done. In 1385 they officially shrugged off a lucrative profession in the silk merchant trade and joined the Guild of Winemakers in Florence, Italy. Like so many new businesses, they worked their way up, honed their craft, and became very successful. So successful that they flaunted it by buying their very own palace in 1506! It still exists and serves as the family wine bar and restaurant (I'm putting this on my bucket list of places to visit).
But like so many of us, just when we think we have finally made it, the bottom crashes. Thanks to downward turns in the economy, the family business suffered a bankruptcy (Sounds familiar, right?) Much like how business owners have had to learn to pivot during the pandemic, House Antinori also made a pivot within the winemaking business. They stepped outside of the box in ways that would cause scandal and would forever change wine history.
This is the part where the creative content writer in me gets excited. This is the part where the Antinoris deliver their true voice.
After reestablishing themselves as one of the most respected wine producers once again, they decided to experiment and explore ways to continue to grow and make themselves better. In the 1920s, they began introducing grape varietals that were not allowed to be used for Chianti Classico production. They began growing and blending Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot) into their Sangiovese. Traditional production requires at least 80% Sangiovese with the other blending grapes being native to the region. Traditionalists were outraged and wouldn't allow them to use the highest designation for their wines- DOC (now DOCG) and designated the new blends as Table Wine...the lowest classification of quality you can receive.
But like any great protagonist in a story, the Antinoris would not let their brand voice be silenced.
Instead, much to the dismay of the government, not only did the wines continue to gain popularity, they began to command prices that were far greater than those produced in the traditional Chianti Classico DOC style.
In fact, the Super Tuscan blends (as they would come to be known) became so highly rated and prized that the government chose to change its rules regarding which types of wines could the DOCG modern designation of highest quality wine being produced. As a further thumb to the nose, the Antinoris chose to label their top rated Tignanello as an IGT wine...not quite a Table Wine, and not the highest designation of DOCG...to prevent the government from capitalizing completely on their magnificent product.
That's the perfect example of letting your brand speak for itself and not settling for the status quo, and they aren't finished yet. The winery is currently owned and being run by the three Antinori daughters: Allegra, Albiera, and Alessia. It's the first time in 633 years that women have held the reigns. It also marks a significant change in the male-dominated world of Italian wine production. Traditionally, if there are no male heirs to pass on the family legacy, the estate is sold. Not so for one of the world's most prestigious wine houses. They continue to shake up the norm by moving to sustainable and environmentally sound practices, going so far as to build their winery underground and planting more vineyards on its green roof! The cellars require no refrigeration being surrounded by terra cotta and being underground. No mechanical pumps are needed for the wines as they use natural gravitational filtration systems. Natural lighting is provided to the office spaces with strategic holes cut into the vineyard "roof" to allow sunlight in,
Today wines like the Antinori 2017 Tignanello floating in my glass are considered to be some of the highest rated wines in the world. In fact, Tignanello received the Top Wine in the World award from Wine Spectator. Let's get to the fun part and find out why.
This magnificent piece of history stored in one delicious bottle looks like a liquid ruby poured into my glass. It is rich looking, looking like royalty itself coming straight from the Antinori palace.
On the nose...ahhhh...can't help but close my eyes and smile. So much here. Cherries. Cherries abound. Black cherry, sour cherry, brandy soaked cherries. Who knew there were so many different smells to cherries? And yet, here they are. Perhaps a small whiff of raspberry here. It's definitely full of fruit! But it's not just juice here. It's more complex than that. There's a strong hit of clove spice and black licorice mingling with the red fruits. What else am I getting? Is that mint? Maybe more of a menthol or eucalyptus scent. And just a whisper of bakers chocolate.
With all that going on in the nose, you can only imagine the taste.
It is heaven.
Take everything I mentioned on the nose: the cherries, the spices, the hint of chocolate and turn the volume up to 11. This is magnificent. Rich and luscious mouthfeel. Velvety tannins on the tongue. Not too light...not to much. It is the Goldilocks would want the mouthfeel...it's just right. Long lasting finish. Incredibly approachable. Made not to just be sipped, but to be savored. Pair it with tomato based dishes, preferably with lots of herbs and bits of spiciness. Let it marry with the flavors of grilled and roasted meets. Mushrooms would dance with this wine. Polenta and Tignanello would be nearly erotic on the tongue. We paired it with braised veal shank, a saffron risotto, and Bolognese tagliatelle. Exactly what this tired, freelance copywriter needed to get the juices flowing again, so to speak.
Italian wines can be intimidating. Don't let this one scare you. Let it become your new best friend, your teacher of history, and your inspiration to step out of the box and let your great ideas pour forth...like this #wordpour.
Sheral~Owner/Founder C3 Specialties