SASSICAIA 2017, Tenuta San Guido, Toscana - 100 RP
Grape Varieties : 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc
One of the secret of Bolgheri’s mediterranean and windy climate is to turn pyrazines from the Cabernets into extra-dimensional scents of citron and leafy aromas. Sassicaia has been producing Cabernet-based wines here since 1968, which are typically marked by this fresh character on the nose.
There's a note of kiwi peel that's particularly intense in this 2016, along with some cedar. In this vintage, its character is - if possible - more restrained than usual and definitely more so than the exceptional 2015. Small dark fruits lurk in the depth of the super- youthful nose, while on the palate the wine is not completely ready to drink - despite the good integration of oak, the tannins are still crunchy, perfectly ripe yet chewy, pushed by a lively acidity. An extremely elegant Sassicaia with a refined finish, this is built for the long haul and is possibly the best of this decade.
TENUTA SAN GUIDO
Tenuta San Guido is named after the Saint Guido della Gherardesca who lived during the XI century. It is located on the Tyrrhenian coast, between Leghorn and Grosseto, in Maremma an area made famous by Italian Nobel prize winner Giosuè Carducci, and it stretches for 13 km from the sea to the hills.
Three are its defining characteristics: the Sassicaia wine, the Razza Dormello-Olgiata thoroughbred studfarm and the Bird Sanctuary Padule di Bolgheri. They divide the estate between the Padule on the coast, the horse's training grounds on the plain, and the vineyards planted up to 350 meters on the hills. The latter have been given their own DOC, the DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, the first, and so far only case in Italy of a DOC contained in one estate.
In the 1920s the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamt of creating a ‘thoroughbred’ wine and for him, as for all the aristocracy of the time, the ideal was Bordeaux. In the 1940s, having settled with his wife Clarice on the Tenuta San Guido on the Tyrrhenian coast, he experimented with several French grape varieties (whose cuttings he had recovered from the estate of the Dukes Salviati in Migliarino) and concluded that the Cabernet had "the bouquet I was looking for."
A wine made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon was a fundamental change to the Tuscan and Piedmont tradition of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, respectively. The innovative decision to plant this variety at Tenuta San Guido was partly due to the similarity Mario Incisa had noted between Tuscan terrain and that of Graves in Bordeaux. ‘Graves’, or ‘gravel’ in French refers to the rocky terrain which distinguishes the Bordeaux area; similarly, the gravely vineyard sites in Tuscany impart the same characteristics on Sassicaia, "stony ground", as its cherished French brother.
The Marchese's first vintages were not warmly received. Critics accustomed to light, local wines were not encouraging; it was not taken into consideration that wines made from the more complex Cabernet Sauvignon grape would need more time to mature and develop.
And thus from 1948 to 1967, Sassicaia remained a strictly private affair, only to be consumed at Tenuta San Guido. It was not until 1968 that Sassicaia was first commercially released – the welcome was worthy of a Bordeaux Premier Cru.