I taste and drink a lot of new vintage wine, and will be the first to admit I don’t try nearly enough wine with bottle-age. That’s not to say SWMBO and I haven’t had our fair share of older wines. Just earlier this year we had the supreme delight of Ch. d’Yquem back to 1950. On another occasion Yquem back to 1921. And table wines as well as fortified back into the last century – well technically two centuries ago. And New Zealand’s oldest wine at 113 years of age. But the constant honing of the palate of such treasures does not happen. They are exceptional circumstances and events.
So when the Bush Man brought around to the Ness-Essaries a 1995 Antinori ‘Tignanello’ Toscana, it was certainly the older wine of what was being served by at least a decade. Tignanello has always been an interesting mix of Sangiovese and Cabernet, each pushing and pulling. The current mix of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Franc is about as good as it has even been, showcasing Sangiovese and Tuscany, with only a little New World influence. There have been years when it has been more a New World or classical Bordeaux- pretender (with a difference, of course). At this age, it didn’t matter as Sangiovese and Cabernet mature to something different. Old wine with savoury fruits, game, dried herbs and leaves, leather and undergrowth. It’s tertiary in character, and the provenance must be ascertained from the structure and balance of other components, rather than varietal character. This wine evolved substantially in the glass, showing it had plenty of ripe sweet and rich fruit. The structure was still a major part, with grip, mouthfeel and textures. Acidity still showed on the edges. This spoke more of the Bordeaux/International style rather than the more fine textural-crisp acid and bitter flavours of traditional Tuscany. In any case, it was a marvel to savour, as the aroma and flavour profile was so complex and vastly different to the bottles on the table.