100-Point Winemaker’s Everyday Super Tuscan Luxury
In pure dollar-for-dollar, pound-for-pound terms, today’s under-$20 Super Tuscan gives Sassicaia, Tignanello, Solaia, and Ornellaia a run for the money. At last year’s VinItaly we had to elbow our way past a horde of importers and top sommeliers to taste 100-point winemaker Stefano Chioccioli’s Tignanello-inspired Bordeaux blend — the 2015 “O’Lillo!” With consistently high praise from Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, and James Suckling, as under-$20 Super Tuscans go, it doesn’t get any better than the 2015 Baracchi Toscana O’Lillo!. James Suckling was taken by its “pretty blueberry and mineral aromas and flavors,” and said it “shows the high quality of 2015.” Back in April, our first allocation sold out — in three hours. We secured another 50 cases, which we expect to last just about as long.
In addition to Chioccioli’s 100 point score from Robert Parker, almost as incredibly, he’s earned more than 100 Tre Bicchieri or “Three Glasses,” awards. With such winemaking prowess at hand, one might expect owner Riccardo Baracchi would have raised prices accordingly. But just as had been the case during the early days of the Super Tuscan craze, Riccardo remained a downside player — accounting for this thrilling 2015 bargain. Here’s why.
In 1971, the first vintage of Sassicaia debuted — a 1968 Tuscan Cabernet Sauvignon drawn off a small vineyard in Bolgheri. That same year saw Piero Antinori craft his first “Tignanello.” Next came Solaia and then Ornellaia. By the early 1990s, these four “Super” Tuscan reds were among the most sought-after and expensive wines in Italy.
Piero’s neighbors took careful note — particularly Riccardo Baracchi, who was fully aware of Tuscany’s Antinori-inspired cash-flow bonanza. But rather than raising overhead costs on labeling and marketing efforts, Baracchi zeroed in on Antinori’s clonal and vineyard protocol. On each of his three properties — the sandy soils of San Martino, the clay and chalk of Gabbiano, and the classic limestone and clay of Montanare — Baracchi planted Bordeaux varieties that were best suited to each terroir.