Antinori is a name synonymous with Italian wine. After all, the family has been making wine for 600 years.
But Antinori isn't limited to vineyards in Italy. Antica Napa Valley is an Antinori estate, too. And two current releases underscore how fine the California operation is doing.
The 2009 Antica Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay is a fresh, balanced, refined and immediately appealing white from an excellent vintage. It displays peach and apricot notes. And the chardonnay is ideal company for lobster, crab, scallops, grilled or sauteed flounder and halibut, maybe pasta with a light cream sauce. About $35.
Superior fruit defines the ripe 2009 Antica Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. You'll detect a hint of blackberry, plus a floral note. It's a full-bodied, very satisfying cabernet, and a match for red meat, especially beef or lamb, grilled or roasted. The wine also pairs neatly with Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses. About $55.
Antinori's Italian wines, of course, are outstanding.
The 2008 Tignanello is the latest vintage of the signature "Super Tuscan" wine, intense and generous. This elegant red is 80 percent sangiovese, finished with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The result is seamless and sensational. Have it with steaks, chops. About $105.
A wonderful Brunello di Montalcino, the 2006 Pian delle Vigne boasts a deep, ruby-red color and stellar red fruit. It's a big wine, multilayered and loaded with flavor. Try the brunello with pasta Bolognese, eggplant Parmigiana, lamb chops, roast duck, grilled vegetables. About $75.