Solaia is a 50 acre (20 hectare) vineyard with a south western exposure located at an altitude between 1150 and 1325 feet (350-400 meters)above sea level and with a stony soil of “alberese” (hard limestone) and “galestro” (flaky calcareous clay) rock. The vineyard is located at the Tignanello estate. The Antinori family produced this wine for the first time in the year 1978,and the initial blend was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, a formula repeated in 1979 as well. In the following years, 20% of Sangiovese was introduced and certain adjustments were also made in the rapport between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc until the current blend was settled upon. Solaia is produced only in exceptional vintage, and was not produced in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984,and 1992.
Particular attention is paid to grape selection in the vineyard, so that only perfect bunches arrived in the cellar. The harvest was completely by hand, picking by 1-hectare plots, according to the vigor of the vines. The Sangiovese grapes were picked in the first ten days of October, while the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested in the second half of the month. As always, great attention was paid to the fermenting and extraction processes, using délestage and overpumping to maintain the natural aromas of each grape variety and the intense color. Fermentation of all three grape varieties was carried out at an average of 27° and no higher than 31°, to best preserve the true aromas, flavors and varietal character of the fruit. The musts showed great complexity from the start, together with abundant varietal character, evident in the aromas, elegance and color, the first signs of a potentially great vintage. After alcoholic fermentation, the wines were racked into new oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation, which occurred by the end of the year. The wines were then blended and aged in barrel for 12 months, then racked off and, after a careful tasting of each barrel, the wine was bottled. The wine was released after a further year in bottle.
The wine shows an elevated color intensity, a sign which, from the very beginning, indicates its importance. The nose is ample and complex, full of fruity and varietal aromas and sensations which begin with black cherries and ripe red fruit and finish with liquorice, coffee, and toasted oak. On the palate the tannins are supple and balanced. The wine is savory and mineral, but soft as well; its aftertaste recalls sweet notes of cacao, vanilla, and black and red berry fruit which linger and last.