D Kelly, London, asks: I read that our Prime Minister Mr Johnson has a great fondness for a glass or two of Tignanello – a taste he apparently shares with the Duchess of Sussex! This no-doubt wonderful red SuperTuscan seems to cost £80-£100 or more for a recent vintage, so it’s far beyond my everyday purse. At more reasonable cost, are there any other wines you could recommend that might give me a glimpse of what Tignanello would taste like?
Michaela Morris, is a Canada-based wine writer and educator who works often in Italy, replies: The iconic Tignanello emanates from the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico DOCG region. From the same vineyard, Marchese Antinori crafts a Chianti Classico Riserva, which – for one-third of the price – will give you a taste of Tignanello’s hallowed terroir.
Sangiovese-led, Tignanello is rounded out with a dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, similar to a few other Chianti Classicos. Both less than £40, the Riservas from La Sala (Christopher Keiller is offering the 2015) and Villa Cafaggio come to mind. While they may not have Tignanello’s sleek new-wood polish, barrel ageing lends them subtle, smoky spice nuances.
Neighbouring Chianti Classico, the DOCG region of Carmignano provides another reliable and affordable sidestep. Here, up to 20% of either of the Cabernets must be included with Sangiovese, and ageing in barrel is mandatory. Carmignanos from top producers Tenuta Capezzana and Piaggia start at around £23 to £26.
As an added bonus, current releases of the above hail from the excellent 2015 and 2016 vintages. Even those at 10 Downing Street and Kensington Palace would approve.
This question first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Decanter magazine.