April 04: For budding connoisseurs of Italian wines, Tignanello is an excellent choice of value-for-money, high quality wine from Antinori and if you are in a mood to splurge in a controlled manner, the best value is available at the Hyatt Regency, Delhi where it is priced at Rs. 14,900++ whereas it retails for an MRP of Rs. 14,500 a bottle if you manage to find it at a Retail Store in Delhi, writes Subhash Arora
met a well-known top industrialist of North India at a friend’s
party a couple of years ago. He loves drinking red wines regularly. Knowing
my passion for Italian wines, he told me there was only one red wine he
loved to drink but could not pronounce its label. Tig...Tin..!?!? Tee-nya-
nello I suggested and he jumped with joy. Yes, that’s it!. Before
I moved on to the next guest I made sure he pronounced it correctly and
shared a bit of knowledge of the grape and the area it comes from and
why it was called a Super Tuscan. Another friend picks up a couple of
bottles of Tignanello every time she or her husband travels to Italy-
she is a committed Tignanello fan!
Tignanello, the iconic Super Tuscan wine was first released in 1975, after its creators, Piero Antinori and his talented wine-maker Giacomo Tachis, the original winemaker of Sassicaia, started the new project in 1971. Antinori felt there was something missing in his wines and was keen to make an excellent wine. They created an awesome Tuscan wine using a revolutionary blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, making it a genuine Super Tuscan wine.
It was produced in the Chianti-Classico producing area in Tuscany but could not be classified as such due to the current laws and remained a table wine till 1992 when the concept of Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designation was created and Tignanello and other Super Tuscans were no longer seen as mere table wines.
Mercifully, Tignanello remains highly underpriced- certainly when compared to Italian icons like Sassicaia or Solaia and more so when compared with Bordeaux first growths-even though Fifth Growths are perhaps more expensive if you consider the laudable quality of the wine.
Tignanello is considered by many as the first true Super Tuscan wine, made from Sangiovese-and aged in barriques, the first red wine to be blended with non-traditional varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the first Chianti red wines not using white grapes. (Even Chianti Classico does not allow the use of white grapes.)
Monica Larner, the Rome- based American journalist writes officially about
Italian wines for Wine Advocate and rates thousands of them every year
She says, "Tignanello has this amazing ability of always being, well,
Tignanello. Its very DNA makes it among the most distinctive and recognizable
wines in the world. I'm happy to report that this is also the case for
the 2014 Tignanello that faced very different growing conditions compared
to most. The wine is beautiful and balanced with sweet tannins and a supporting
oak texture that is neatly folded at the back. The wine is all about measure
and proportion, and aspires to these goals with an impressive sense of
natural harmony. This is not an overtly powerful or muscular expression.
Instead, it shows a tasty, almost savoury formof
elegance. This vintage was made with 75% Sangiovese, which means that
the Cabernet presence is a tad higher than normal. Ultimately, this wine
is more delicate and has finesse. And I appreciate the careful tannic
management on display here.”
She describes with full power and passion the characteristics of Tignanello
whose sales in India, though small in number have doubled in 4 years-
from around 1,450 bottles in 2013-14 to an estimated 2,900 bottles
in 2017-18. It’s considered to be one of the most underpriced high
quality Italian wines in India. It is being sold at the Hyatt, Regency
Delhi for Rs. 14,900 ++. ‘It’s under Allocation and hence
more sales were not possible’, says Farhad Bhabha, Managing Director
of the importing company, Berkmann Cellars India. ‘We could easily
sell 3500 bottles a year,’ he says.
Compare this with another Italian wine with a huge Brag Factor- Sassicaia whose list price at Hyatt is Rs. 66,000! No wonder Tignanello is listed at many fine-dining 5-star properties like Artusi (5-star standalone restaurant), ITC, and Oberoi, Delhi. Several hotels in Mumbai list it around Rs. 25,000 a bottle or more.
It may be interesting to note that the wine retails for Rs. 14,500 (inclusive
of VAT at 20%). Hyatt does not have an import license granted to them
and are naturally working on a very thin margin of less than 40%, as they
buy tax-paid, says Shaji Paul, The beverage director who is thoroughly
versed with wines and in particular, knows what sells best at Hyatt and
how to price them right.The cheapest wine is a Chilean white Saborde Edmara
chardonnay that sells for Rs. 2800 and is just adequate for a meal with
a white Chardonnay (Pic-alongside)
Another wine which is reasonably priced in Hyatt is Peppoli, the well-known Chianti Classico from their Tuscan stable. Priced at Rs. 5,200 +taxes), it may not be as good a value as Tignanello but if you are not in a mood or do not have budget for Tignanello, this luscious, fruity and elegant Chianti Classico would sing very well.
It must also be mentioned that the Tignanello brand enjoys tremendous cult-like following all-over the world and most duty-free shops carry it overseas- priced at around €65-90. The wine also qualifies as Gran Selezione, the highest quality category introduced in 2014 by Chianti Classico Consortium. But Antinori took a commercial decision and decided against it for this super-premium category since wines in this category sell for around €30-60 at the Cellar Door or wine shops, much less than Tignanello.
For a couple of earlier related Articles, please visit:
The Wine Company inches towards 5-star Prices
Antinori Wine Dinner at La Piazza, Hyatt Regency (#1/81)
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