Mae West once pithily stated that ‘Too much of a good thing is wonderful’, a sentiment applicable to the 2010 Tuscan vintage. Last month we re-tasted many of the leading lights of the vintage and Guado al Tasso stood out as a show stopper, we instantly scored it 96-97 points, a point higher than the truly superb Tignanello 2010. Indeed, Robert Parker’s Italian critic Monica Larner scored the 2010 Guado al Tasso 97 points, making it her joint third highest scoring wine of the vintage only pipped by Masseto and Ornellaia which scored 98 and 97 points respectively.
Guado al Tasso is the prestigious flagship Bordeaux blend wine from Piero Antinori. It forms one third of his trinity of great wines Tignanello, Solaia and Guado al Tasso, which have cemented Piero as the best-known name in Italian winemaking. In fact, James Suckling has gone on record saying that Piero ‘For me is the greatest winemaker in Italy, without Piero there would be no history of great winemaking in Italy’.
Guado al Tasso unlike Tignanello and Solaia – which are located in Chianti Classico – is the family’s sprawling property located in the heartland of Super Tuscan coastal region of Bolgheri, a few minutes south of Sassicaia and Ornellaia. As such it has a wonderful climatic combination, benefiting from the coastal breeze of the Tyrrhenian Sea, vineyard elevation and the interior hills. Interestingly, Guado al Tasso takes its name from the badgers (tassi) that regularly cross the steams on the property; truly heart-warming.
Initially the blend included a little Syrah; however nowadays is has morphed into a true Bordeaux blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. Stylistically, Guado al Tasso straddles Solaia/Tignanello and the properties belonging to the other side of the Antinori family, Ornellaia and Masseto: a master class in winemaking. Like its siblings Solaia and Tignanello, all variatels are vinified separately and macerated in stainless steel tanks for 12-14 days then and aged for 14 months in new French oak barriques.
Guado al Tasso fully expresses the Bolgheri terrior, fashioned with a defined structure, sublime complexity and elegance, yet rich and spicy. The 2010 has a powerful nose of chocolate, cassis, blackcurrant, raspberries and cherry, smoked meat, tar, vanilla, toast, liquorice and leather with high notes of eucalyptus, menthol and thyme. It is full bodied, with a delightful structure, with rich and fine tannin, fresh acidity and has an extremely long finish that ends in white chocolate and mocha and sweet spice. The 2010 will drink beautifully young yet age and improve for twenty years, this could be their greatest ever vintage and for £47 a bottle offer incredible value. Taste it alongside the other great Super Tuscans of 2010 and it will certainly vie for the wine of the vintage.
The Antinori name can be traced back to Troy, the Iliad tells of Prince Antenor, who allowed the wooden horse to enter the gates in exchange for his life. A peculiar decision; surely if he had not opened the gates his life would have not been under threat: Odysseus was at the height of his persuasive pomp at the time. Still, on fleeing Troy, he travelled the Adriatic settling in Venice and the house of Antinori later took their name from said lineage.
Antinori Guado Al Tasso 2010, £280 – 6×75 IB or £350.76 incl. duty and VAT
Monica Larner – 97 points
A rich, beautiful wine with a dark-chocolate, currant and raspberry character. Full body with velvety tannins and a clean finish. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. This is very youthful and needs at least three years of bottle age. Drink: 2015 – 2030.
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