I’ll Drink to That: Lodovico Antinori

Episode 434 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Lodovico Antinori, a partner in Tenuta di Biserno and Tenuta Campo di Sasso, both in the Maremma area of Tuscany. He was also the founder of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia in Bolgheri.

Lodovico Antinori grew up in traditionally posh surroundings in Florence, but became fascinated with the open spaces and pioneer attitudes he encountered when visiting California as a young man. So much so, that he planned to open a winery in California’s central coast. But a key figure convinced Lodovico to instead return to Italy to make his mark – André Tchelistcheff, the famed winemaker. Tchelistcheff declared to Lodovico that he had “an El Dorado” amongst his family holdings in Bolgheri, and with Tchelistcheff’s help Lodovico broke ground on Tenuta dell’Ornellaia there. This interview contains several little known details about that key period in the development of the Super Tuscan wave, which by the mid-1990s would become a true market phenomenon. Lodovico is quite open about his feelings at the time, and acknowledges other key players in the development. He also is frank about the conditions that led to the sale of the Ornellaia winery and brand in 2001. But more than one man’s personal story, this episode of I’ll Drink to That! is also a deep dive into the wines of the Maremma and that area as a whole, covering grape varieties, soil types, growing conditions, and the wine history of the place. If you are looking to understand the context behind the many successful Super Tuscan wine brands, this is a key interview to listen to.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine