75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 20% Sangiovese
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.
The grapes from the Solaia vineyard, which are as always severely selected, were among the last to be harvested (starting September 25 for the Cabernets, and the Sangiovese a week later). The grapes were vinified separately and new methods were used which guarantee a very soft processing. Maceration took place in 50 hectoliter open wooden fermentors with periodic cap submersion for better extraction of colour, complexity and tannins. During this time (15 days for the Sangiovese and 20 days for the Cabernets), the wine completed its alcoholic fermentation at a temperature never exceeding 30°C. The wine was then transferred into 225 liter French oak barrels (new Troncais and Alliers), where malolactic fermentation was terminated by the year's end. The wines were then racked, blended and then returned to the barriques for about 14 months aging, after which time they were bottled and aged for a further 12 months before release. Alcohol : 13,5% Vol.
Solaia, which means the 'sunny one' in Italian, is a 10 hectares (25 acres) southwest-facing vineyard planted 351-396 metres (1,150-1,300 feet) above sea-level on stony calcareous soil of marl and friable albarese rock. It is located at Tignanello estate, contiguous to the homonymous vineyard, which is on the same property, in the Mercatale Val di Pesa zone of Chianti Classico. Antinori first produced a single-vineyard wine from these vines with the 1978 vintage (which was a limited release only in Italy); the initial blend was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, which was repeated in 1979. During following vintages, 20% Sangiovese was introduced and small adjustments were made (according to vintage) to the proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc used, to arrive at today's blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 20% Sangiovese. Solaia was not produced in the 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1992 vintages.
Intensely fruity and complex with a good structure, well-balanced, with soft tannins and a lingering finish. Displays unmistakable varietal flavor while retaining strong regional character.
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