Gala Dinner at Antinori’s New Winery in Tuscany

Tuscany

My husband, Ken, and I had a wonderful Gala Dinner at Antinori’s New Winery in Tuscany earlier this year on May 17th, which was part of the Masters of Wine Symposium (only every four years!). It was truly a magical evening with a tasting of several wines outside the winery (picture of my husband and myself outside the winery above) that ranged from 1999 Sori San Lorenzo from Gaja to 2009 Sassicaia. A dinner followed inside with up to 19 wines, and dancing until the wee hours of night. All of the wines were unique in their own way, but for the purposes of keeping to the rules of brevity for this blog, I will focus on only three that I thought were interesting for various reasons.

-Cervaro della Sala 2006, Marchesi Antinori, Umbria IGT (85% Chardonnay & 15% Grechetto): This wine was showing its age beautifully! Great verve with layers of nutty and spicy complexities with aromas of dried flowers on the finish. As much as I am a slave to white and red Burgundy, I have to say I love having my “ideal” version of Chardonnay challenged.

-Turriga 2008, Argiolas, IGT Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia Italy (85% Cannonau, 5% Carignano, 5% Bovale, 5% Malvasia): I have recommended Argiolas to many a wine consumer, and they always come back simply because it is a delicious wine at an incredible price. And every time I have it I say to myself “I really need to drink Argiolas a lot more!” This wine was classic with ripe concentration while keeping some Old World charm with a good backbone of firm tannins, without getting astringent. Simply a pleasure.

-Radici Taurasi 2008, Mastroberardino DOCG, Montemarano and Mirabella Eclano, Campania Region, Italy (100% Aglianico): First of all, I LOVE TAURASI! And earlier this year the wine world mourned the death of the great Antonio Mastroberardino, father of the Campania fine wine movement, but left it in the good hands of his son Piero Mastroberardino. I will never forget the introduction to my first Taurasi many years ago by a good friend, and I must admit up until that time I really never truly appreciated the great potential of Aglianico. This 2008 had incredible intense minerality with a smokey outstanding length that I felt I could still smell in my head until the end of the night.

Incredible night, and I look forward to the next spectacular Gala Dinner in four years! Stay tuned to find out the next location.

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  • Tariq Piracha

    Aglianico. 🙂

    I was never a big Chardonnay fan. Actually I hated it until recently. Two Chardonnays change my mind: a Pouilly Fuissé and, strangely enough, a chard from Niagara that did the same for me: challenged what I considered to be ideal Chardonnay.

  • I have had a love and hate relationship with Chardonnay. I think Chardonnay can be so different, not only because of place but because of producer. I didn’t want to like this Chardonnay from Italy because I feel they have so many interesting indigenous varieties that why bring in Chardonnay. Well, it was a stunning wine! And they said it could easily age 15 years with improvement. Yes, the concept of an ideal Chardonnay is difficult because it is a variety that does not have a distinctive quality on its own, but gains distinctive qualities through winemaking techniques.