The 2015 vintages of Tignanello and Guado al Tasso are finally here, both boasting the best ratings they have ever received.
What can I say about Tig and Guado that hasn’t already been written? By now the legend/origin story of how Piero Antinori broke the outdated rules of Chianti Classico to make (arguably) the world’s first Supertuscan is well known, as is the story of how Piero’s dad split his property beside Sassicaia in Bolgheri between Piero (who made Guado al Tasso) and his wayward brother Lodovico, who stopped surfing the world’s beaches just long enough to start Ornellaia.
I could instead create my own stories about these wines? I could tell you that Tignanello emerged from a volcano fully formed, after which it came down the mountain and taught the villagers how to talk fancy and stuff olives. I could tell you that “Guado al Tasso” is actually ancient Egyptian for “Bowling For Dollars”, and the recipe for the wine served at these fundraisers under the Pyramids found its way to Piero Antinori via the Stargate. None of that is true, but I’m having fun and I wish it was.
Instead, let’s look at the wines themselves, icons of modern Tuscany that have never rested on their considerable laurels:
Antinori Tignanello 2015 Toscana
Reminding us what all the fuss was about in the first place, like when Radiohead released In Rainbows. Unlike last year’s traditionally hued 2014, which – like most Tigs – needs a nap before it can speak, this 2015 is delicious and full, if a tad angry on the long finish (try for yourself when we pour it this Saturday in the River District Vintage Room at 3pm). Not dissimilar to the stellar 2013 (except that it contains more Sangiovese), this 2015 is one of those rare Tigs that contain two historically opposing qualities: Longevity and Immediacy. The structure is primed for many spins around the sun but still drinks like a warm handshake now, with the now hallowed nose of sun-baked cherries and cedar leading to a deep, large centre and a spicy (if tannic) finish. All I could get was 15 6-packs, apologies if I run out again. 97 points Wine Spectator, 98 points James Suckling, 15 6-packs available, $112.99 +tax
Antinori Guado al Tasso 2015 Bolgheri Superiore
The price creeps up a tad every year, but Guado is still one of the best deals in Bolgheri, especially compared to its contemporaries (and neighbors) Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Cab dominant with Merlot and Franc supporting, roasted coffee and tobacco prop up the deep dark fruits, finishing with garrigue and pepper. Like Médoc on power pills. Probably approaching the sweet spot in a couple years, but gosh-darn delicious now, with gorgeous fruit and generous delivery.97 points Robert Parker, 97 points James Suckling, 4 wooden 6-packs available, $118.99 +tax
Postscript: I still have a couple boxes of the titanic 2013 Guado al Tasso (97 Suckling, 96 Parker), which is singing like a Tenor right now. You know, if you’re into, like, excellence and beauty and that kind of stuff.