On an early Friday morning in March, a group of the Food and Wine and Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses track’s MBA students left Bologna to visit the Antinori nel Chianti Classico estate in Tuscany. The two tracks had a mutual course, Agri-Food Systems, in which Marchesi Antinori was presented as a case company of the Wine Food system. Together with Antinori nel Chianti Classico, the MBA team organized a guided tour to the beautiful estate.
The Antinori is a family run business since 1385 and the estate is what they call the beating heart of Antinori nel Chianti Classico. The property in Chianti Classico is a unique place where modern meets tradition, with spectacular architecture in the middle of the region’s hills.
Our visit included a tour of the premises and a wine tasting at their exquisite tasting rooms. Benedetta, our tour guide gave us a vast and informative tour of the magnificent building and cellars. The estate is surrounded by vineyards which grow the Sangiovese grapes typical to Chianti Classico wines. The estate was constructed for seven years and opened in 2012 for the public. It provides customised tours and tastings for visitors. In addition to their cellars, you can find art, an auditorium and a rooftop restaurant.
Sustainability is key
The Antinori family is extremely connected with their land and they are profound to maintain the secular tradition in the years by respecting the surrounding territory.
Harmony is a key pillar of the Antinori nel Chianti Classico estate in fact when you approach the property from the road, you do not see the estate but only vineyards, to avoid visual pollution and let the people got embrace immediately by the natural landscape. The hill has been cut in only two lines where the cellars and the structure have been created. This aspect brings a low visual impact, the second key fundamental on which the estate has been ideated, is to leave nature like the main character of the stage.
Furthermore, Antinori family strongly and constantly support local economies, involving native businesses in the construction of the estate and also in its maintenance, additionally reducing CO2 emissions related to longer transport trips and logistic in general. The love and the engagement shared by the involved local workers in the Antinori nel Chianti Classico estate is something that you cannot find anywhere else. To create this harmonious and unique estate, architects are reminded to use all materials able to increase efficiency; Antinori nel Chianti Classico estate is shaped predominantly with “Florentine Terracotta”, the best actor in keeping the high humidity in the building without using artificial interventions.
Energy consumption is reduced at the minimum thanks also to the innovative shape of the cellar: the walls do not touch the ground, making the airflow constantly and easily. The Cantina is hypogean to keep the temperature low and stable throughout all year, a fundamental requirement to create their magnificent wines. The combination of these two characteristics allows no use of Air Conditioning instalments, reducing the impact on the environment and confirming that, for Antinori Family sustainability is key to guaranteeing the glorious wine respecting the environment for many more generations.
Tasting delicious Antinori nel Chianti Classico Wines
After the tour, we started our private tasting. The tasting was in one of the tasting rooms with glass walls looking over the cellar. We tasted three different wines with our young and very knowledgeable guide Benedetta. The first wine was La Vigna sul Tetto Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 2018. It’s a well-balanced red, with notes of black cherry and plum, with a long finish and can be enjoyed without a heavy course of food. A very local wine, as it’s produced from the vineyards growing on the roof of the estate.
The second wine we tasted was Santa Pia Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG Riserva 2017 by La Braccesca another estate owned by Antinori, located on the border between the cities of Montepulciano and Cortona. It’s described with a nose that immediately reveals its vintage: pleasant sensations of ripe red fruit and plum jam merge with aromas of tobacco and cloves. On the palate, the wine is elegant, refined and characterized by excellent freshness and mouth-filling tannins, soft and silky. As we discussed with our group and guide it’s definitely a wine that needs food (particularly a steak like “Fiorentina”) to accompany it.
The third and last was a personal favourite: Cont’Ugo 2019 Bolgheri DOC is from Tenuta Guado al Tasso estate which is located in Bolgheri in Tuscany’s Upper Maremma. This wine has an intense ruby red colour described to offer intense notes of small ripe red fruit accompanied by sweet spices and light hints of earthy aromas. On the palate, tannins are exceptional, with good tension and excellent persistence. This vintage produced a wine with outstanding harmony that is pleasing to drink.
Moving to the rooftop of the building there is the restaurant Rinuccio 1180 surrounded by vineyards with both an indoor space and a terrace. We enjoyed lunch outside at the terrace, which was the perfect way to end our tour and day at the estate. The food was delicious and well-balanced with the Antinori nel Chianti Classico wines of different regions. All in all a great restaurant, with a variety of traditional and contemporary Tuscan dishes, Antinori wines and Tuscany scenery.
The organized tour in the beautiful surroundings offered a fantastic opportunity to give context to our course topics and studies. An unforgettable experience and a definite highlight of our Spring semester so far.
Thank you, Antinori nel Chianti Classico and Bologna Business School for organizing the fantastic opportunity!
Emilia Meyer-Arnold – Food & Wine
Leonardo Caiazza – Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses