By Parani Chitrakorn
Antinori wines show their style in a Bangkok tasting
“Every vintage and every piece of land is a new beginning.” That’s been the outlook of the Marchesi Antinori family of Florence, Italy, for 26 generations.
The Tuscan city is famous as a Renaissance centre, for Michelangelo, for luxury leather goods – and for its wines, such as Chianti.
In 1385 Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Vintner’s Guild to make better use of the family’s rural properties around Florence. The vineyards he established are still full of life today.
But, while the ancient roots play an important role, every vintage is indeed a new beginning.
An enthusiastic crowd of King Power cardholders recently joined Antinori Asia-Pacific export manager Jacopino Pandolfino for a tasting at the Wine Pub of the Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel.
Pandolfino gave a passionate talk before we tucked into the first wine, the only white of the night, Chardonnay Bramito del Cervo 2009.
It had the pleasant aroma of apple, not too oaky, and was refreshing with its acidity. Pullman executive chef Marshall Orton’s smoked salmon with horseradish cream went very well with the white. The body of the wine and the texture of salmon were compatible, with acidity to cleanse the palate.
Next was the famous Antinori Chianti Classico Peppoli DOCG 2008 – the top appellation for a Chianti. It was neither classical nor neo-classical, but did refer to its origin.
With 90 per cent Sangiovese and 10 per cent Merlot and Syrah, this wine had the aromas of red berries and chocolate, with great structure on the palate, but was a bit young to drink by itself.
It paired perfectly, however, with beef carpaccio drizzled with EVO Parmesan cheese and baby rocket leaves. The light tannin from the Sangiovese grape made the beef sweeter, and its protein in turn made the young wine less astringent and fully rounded.
From Tuscany’s Chianti, Pandolfino guided us next to the Bolgheri area on the Mediterranean Sea, some 80 kilometres southwest of Florence.
The il Bruciato Bolgheri DOC 2007 was totally different from the traditional Tuscan style, a blend of 50 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 per cent Merlot and 20 per cent Syrah and other black grape varietals.
And it was a very good vintage, especially when matched with eggplant caponata crostini and grilled mellazani with baby mozzarella cheese and Parma ham.
Everyone was waiting for the famous Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005. Not only was the vintage perfect, but this is the crème de la crème of Sangiovese thanks to its intensity.
Very full, broad and well balanced, yet complex, it went perfectly with Beef Wellington wrapped in French butter puff pastry and a country pate wonderfully prepared by chef Orton. It was a perfect match in body, texture and flavours. Most of the guests asked for more.
Last but not least came the star of the night, Tignanello, which is an innovation on the Chianti Classico’s ability to express Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. That was the birth of “Super Tuscan” back in 1975. It’s 80 per cent Sangiovese, 15 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 per cent Cabernet Franc, producing an intense flavour and fuller body. Orton showed his skill with handmade lasagna, served with assorted forest mushrooms and pulled pork.