Marchesi Antinori is synonymous with the best of Italian winemaking. The Antinori family has been in the wine producing business for 26 generations and it now one of the most successful and admired producers in Italy. Based in Tuscany and Umbria, the family has in recent decades bought estates in other parts of Italy as well as the United States. The business is led by Marchese Piero Antinori, who is respected for his passionate attention to tradition and terroir as well as his interest in innovation and new ideas. Antinori originally made its reputation by producing Chianti Classico, though these days it is equally known for its Super Tuscans -- Guado Al Tasso Bolgheri, Solaia and Tignanello. Super Tuscans are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah, and were among the first blended wines in Italy. Marchesi Antinori owns about 4,000 acres of vineyards and produces between 40,000 and 50,000 cases of its three Super Tuscans annually.
Tuscany, or Toscana in Italian, is Italy’s best-known wine region and its most diverse. Historically Sangiovese was the primary grape grown in Tuscany and Chianti was considered the purest expression of Sangiovese. Sangiovese and its many clones are still important, and they are the grapes used for the Tuscan appellations of Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano, Chianti, Chianti Classico and Carmignano. But in the last 50 years innovative producers, many of them in southwestern Tuscany in the area called Maremma, have also planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The tradition defying producers have blended those varietals with Sangiovese to produce dazzling wines that do not conform to Italy’s appellation regulations. Such wines are called Super Tuscans and cannot be labeled with either of Italy’s highest level quality designations, which are in order of status Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia, (DOCG), and Denominazione di Origine Controllata, (DOC). (This has not at all hindered the demand for Super Tuscans, some of which are consistently among the world’s most admired and well-reviewed wines.) Tuscany has six DOCG appellations and thirty-four DOCs. Though famous for its red wines, Tuscany also produces whites made primarily from Trebbiano and Vernaccia.
There are also many Tuscan Indicazione Geographica Tipica (IGT) wines that are often an innovative blend of traditional and non-traditional grapes. This relatively new appellation status was started in 1992 as an attempt to give an official classification to Italy’s many newer blends that do fit the strict requirements of DOC and DOCG classifications. IGT wines may use the name of the region and varietal on their label or in their name.