No visit to Tuscany would be complete without a day well spent at Antinori nel Chianti Classico. Sheltered within the heart of the Tuscan hills, the winery is an awe-inspiring illustration of the symbiotic co-existence of timeless traditions and imaginative innovation…
Re-opened in 2012, the ultra-modern facility has a history harking back to the Middle Ages, more precisely 1385, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member of the “Arte Fiorentina dei Vinattieri” (Florentine Winemakers’ Guild). Over six centuries, the Antinori family has built a formidable reputation for producing some of Italy’s most celebrated wines – from the iconic Chianti, to the original “super Tuscan,” Tignanello – one of the first red wines from the Chianti Classico area to be made without any white grapes.
While Antinori’s production has multiplied beyond their native Chianti region, their wine farming business remains an indomitably family-run affair, owned and managed in present day by the 25th and 26th generations of the Antinori family, Marquis Piero Antinori and his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia. The recent redevelopment of the family’s flagship Antinori nel Chianti Classico (which doubles as the HQ), is a concrete demonstration of their long-term vision, guided as much by the past as the future…
Designed by leading architect Marco Casamonti, most of this winery is actually underground, cleverly constructed inside a hillside as a lasting tribute to the winery’s integration within its surrounding landscape. A mix of natural materials (including terracotta, wood and corten) lend an earthy aura to the cellars sequestered within, with these awe-inspiring enclaves consciously built to facilitate easier movement of the grapes by gravity flow (rather than mechanical pumping).
Spread across 540,000 feet, the capacious space also spans an auditorium, museum, tasting rooms, a wine shop and a rooftop restaurant, Rinuccio 1180. Art installations are discreetly interspersed within the interiors, furthering the element of intrigue that epitomises this avant-garde structure!
Our afternoon tour of the winery is truly an eye-opening experience, offering a lens into Antinori’s production philosophy right from vineyard, through the process of fermentation and ageing, to blending and bottling. Of course, we have an opportunity to taste some of their eminently-drinkable wines too, including Mezzo Braccio (Toscana IGT), Pian delle Vigne (Rosso di Montalcino DOC) and Villa Antinori (Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva).
A pitstop at Rinuccio 1180 afterwards is a must, for classic Tuscan fare executed with rustic finesse. Summer is a particularly enchanting time of year to visit, when one can lunch within the canopied terrace, drinking in a 180-degree view of the tumbling Tuscan countryside. On a much colder afternoon in February, we settle indoors instead, seeking the cathartic comfort of Chianti Classico and a parade of pasta, sporting seasonal produce. The pappa al pomodoro is particularly a revelation – a traditional bread & tomato soup that is delicious proof that stale white bread can be put to hearty use! For the adventurous, the menu also features the likes of a Chianti burger…
An architectural marvel, an oenophile’s dream and a foodie’s delight… a day at Antinori’s arresting estate in the Chianti region is truly a must-visit on your bucket list for Tuscany!
Antinori nel Chianti Classico is a 45 minute drive south of Florence
For more details on booking a visit, do have a look at their website: https://www.antinori.it/en/tenuta/estates-antinori/antinori-nel-chianti-classico-estate/
The writer visited the Antinori Estate independently.