Antinori Solaia [Pre-arrival] 2018
VM98: Antinori’s 2018 Solaia captures all of the elegance of this important vintage. The bouquet alone is mesmerizing. It speaks to the stunning beauty and pedigree of Cabernet Sauvignon as grown at the Antinori family’s Tignanello property. Sweet scents of crème de cassis, lavender, graphite, mint, spice and espresso lead into a fine, delineated palate. Bright and energetic, Solaia is decidedly medium in body in 2018, with striking purity and exceptional beauty. I can’t remember ever tasting a young Solaia with this much sheer appeal and balance in the early going. In 2018 Solaia is 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 7% Cabernet Franc. Production is down to around 60,000 bottles because of strict selection.
WA97+: The Marchesi Antinori 2018 Solaia reveals a silky and elegant personality, and the wine steps away from some of the more robust fruit weight and dark concentration that we've seen in the past. This elegant vintage prizes fruit purity and focus with black plum, cassis, blue flower, pencil shaving and lots of sweet spice from the oak that recalls clove and toasted almond. The blend is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller parts Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. The fruit is harvested at the Antinori family's Tenuta Tignanello at the heart of the Chianti Classico appellation. The percentage of Cabernet Franc used in the blend is the ultimate Solaia wild card. In this vintage, the Franc has been increased to 7%, and that number is expected to be even higher in 2019 as the vines get older and the fruit more complex. Production of Solaia is 65,000 bottles in this vintage. This is a beautiful wine, but if pressed I must admit a preference for the 2018 Tignanello (the other celebrated wine crafted at this property). The 2018 Solaia is delicious on all fronts as expected, but the 2018 Tignanello struck at my heart strings. Either way, these are stunning results.