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Sassicaia, like a lot of the very best things in life, began as an experiment, a passion job that came to fruition thanks to good luck and effort. The wine started in the 1940s as a homemade red crafted by a curious Renaissance man attempting to imitate Bordeaux on his Bolgheri estate near the Tuscan coast.
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And now, in 2018, 50 years after the wine's first commercial vintage, Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 2015 is Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year. Sassicaia is a renowned wine, as blue-chip as first-growth Bordeaux, grand cru Burgundy or Napa Valley cult Cabernet. Although its character is austere in contrast to other Bordeaux-style blends from Bolgheri, it ages superbly, as a tasting of the 1985 vintage at the estate late in 2015 showed.
But the Sassicaia 2015 is really different from the early vintages made by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, the wine's developer. Those wines were produced from Cabernet Franc cuttings taken near Pisa and planted high on an inland hillside, near Castiglioncello. Though the initial vineyard still exists, the bulk of Sassicaia's vineyard parcels today lie at lower elevations.
Few innovators get it exactly right the first time around. Paradoxically, the locals found Incisa della Rocchetta's wine too green, preferring the light, fruity reds made from high-yielding Sangiovese. Nonetheless, after aging in cask and bottle for 10 years, Sassicaia was a revelation. It caught the attention of Piero Antinori, Mario's nephew, who was gotten to make Sassicaia known to the world.
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With Antinori came his enologist, Giacomo Tachis, who applied his knowledge and ability to the advancement of Sassicaia. Vineyards lower on the slope and closer to the sea were planted, mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon, which ended up being the backbone of the mix. Sassicaia today is generally 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 15 percent Cabernet Franc.
Yet it never lost its Old World character or its Tuscan roots. The 1985 and 1988 vintages are famous, and the 2015 exposes all the hallmarks of a fantastic Sassicaia that will one day take pleasure in a comparable credibility. Though the Tenuta San Guido estate grows other crops and raises and trains purebred horses, wine became its main economic focus by the early 1970s.
Since 2009, Carlo Paoli has actually been the estate director, supervising a group of vineyard and cellar employees. Sassicaia is fermented in stainless-steel and after that aged in French oak casks, one-third brand-new, for 24 months. Typical annual production is 10,000 cases, making the wine commonly readily available. Tenuta San Guido produces two other red wines.
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Eighty percent of the grapes originate from a leased vineyard near the Sassicaia vineyard; the remaining fruit is acquired. Le Difese is the only San Guido red that includes any Sangiovese (40 percent), with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit for Le Difese comprises a mix of estate-grown and bought grapes.
But it is a story with a delighted ending, a fantastic journey that started with the vision of its creator, shepherded along the way by some of Italy's a lot of respected vintners. Sassicaia has actually taken its rightful location in the pantheon of the world's excellent white wines and, spotlighted by the success of the 2015 vintage, it makes the honor of being called Wine Spectator Wine of the Year.
Dense yet vibrant, structured yet perfectly well balanced, with lively acidity driving the long, fruit-filled aftertaste. The oak is beautifully integrated. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Finest from 2023 through 2042.-- Bruce Sanderson Special Classification: Collectible Area: Tuscany, Italy Issue Date: July 31, 2018.
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Last Updated: 5 months ago Region: Cabernet Sauvignon Designs and Wine Structure: Rosso (Rd): Minimum 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + OARG Considerable Production Rules: Minimum alcohol level: 12.0% Aging: Minimum 2 years, consisting of 18 months in barrel (ERD = January 1, V +2) Last Disciplinare Modification: 03/30/2015Note: Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC white wines can be made just on Marchese Incisa della Rocchetta's Tenuta San Guido estate.
You've heard it before, Sassicaia is the most collectible Italian wine to come out of the Boot. The now historic wine is single-handedly responsible for launching the Super Tuscan motion and remains among the most popular white wines worldwide. Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta continues the 36 year old tradition at the Tenuta San Guido estate, which is considered by many to be the birthplace of Tuscan Cabernet.
In the time pre-dating the Sixties, nobody thought about making a wine crafted along Bordeaux lines on Italian soil, much less in an area not yet developed viticulturally. The theory back then was that vines exposed to the sea winds and salty air of Bolgheri would produce poor outcomes. More importantly, the viticultural regulations set forth by the DOC and DOCG limited creativity, expression, and the qualitative potential of terroir.
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Mario thought in the advancement of Tuscany's viticulture and planted a little vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Bolgheri hills in 1944. The estate, Tenuta San Guido, was affected by the location's similarity to Graves in Bordeaux. "Tomb" implies "gravel" in French, and similarly, the earth at Tenuta San Guido offered Sassicaia its name, which in the Tuscan dialect suggests "stony ground." After 25 years of experimentation and ruthless energy, Sassicaia got in the world phase in 1968 to critical praise with its first worldwide release and therefore the Super Tuscan Leader was born.
Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia The location of the Tenuta San Guido vineyards was likewise rather advanced, being found on the Tyrrhenian coast of the Maremma. Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia is another Super Tuscan vineyard located in the very same area. It was founded by Lodovico Antinori, whose auntie Clarice della Gherardesca was the wife of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta.
Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, as well as Red wine and Sauvignon Blanc, and the very first vintage was 1985. The wine showed extremely successful. In 2002, Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia entered ownership of the Mondavi family of California, who subsequently sold on 50% to the Italian Frescobaldi household and in 2005, offered their remaining 50% to Frescobaldi who now own Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia.
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The Etruscan coast wine roadway This "wine road" begins with Montecatini Val di Cecina and continues through Montescudaia, Cecina, Bolgheri, Castagneto Carducci, Sassetta, Suvereto, Campiglia Marittima, Venturina and ends at the port of Piombino. On the island of Elba, there is an extension that leads from Marina di Campo over the entire island as far as Rio Marina.
There are also excellent whites such as Bianco della Val di Cornia (Suvereto) plus the Elban wines, the white Bianco L'Ansonica and the red Rosso Aleatico.