There are some wines that should be drunk at least once in life. One of these is definitely Sassicaia, an authentic Made in Italy icon the world over, like Ferrari or some fashion brands. So every time I find a tasting of the “rocky wine” on a calendar, I try not to let the occasion escape for any reason in the world.
My curiosity was piqued when I read that Vinitaly was planning a vertical of the “eight lesser known vintages” of wine produced by Tenuta San Guido in Capanne, in the pictoresque Bolgheri sung of by Giosuè Carducci. My mind was then made up, and I signed up to attend. But how does one “forget” vintages? Perhaps because at the time they came out on the market (except for the last, 2014, bottled few months earlier) they were not considered with due respect by critics. Today, however, after years, these eight Sassicaia are all strong, slender and convincing.
The exceptional tasting was conducted by Ian D’Agata, Scientific Director of Vinitaly International, assisted by Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, the young marquise, owner of Tenuta San Guido, who picked up where her father Nicolò had left off , who in turn had continued the work of his own father, Mario, that is, Priscilla’s grandfather. Fundamental was the contribution of technical director Carlo Paoli, an authentic living memory of the Sassicaia vintages, a wine which was made great (it’s worth remembering) by the work and insights of the recently deceased great wine maker Giacomo Tachis.
From 1948 to 1967, Sassicaia would remain a wine only drunk by the Incisa della Rocchetta family and their dearest friends. After all, wine is conviviality, even in aristocratic environments.
Thanks to Tachis’s contribution, the wine came out on the market in 1968, the first official vintage to be marketed. Then, year after year, it proved itself a continuous success: the Bordeaux cut made in Maremma was born, along with the first “super Tuscan” that paved the way for all the others (most of them in the Bolgherese) to follow suit.
Eight vintages to remember: the tasting
Take care my friends: all Sassicaia are 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc
“Very difficult year. The wine was aged only 60% in new wood”, explains Carlo Paoli. Garnet color with orange border, the wine is perfectly clean and fresh. The aroma is a nice mix of spices, cloves, cassis, licorice bark. There are also the most evolved notes (the vintage is almost 25 years old) of sweet tobacco, coffee, undergrowth and a hint of smoke. It is deep to the taste, soft, without edges, with silky, absolutely perfect tannins and long persistence. A trail of Indian spices in the finish. The body is a bit faulty, but it’s forgivable for such an old wine. It goes down very well. A “feminine” and suave wine, in my opinion. My rating: 90/100
Garnet with orange rim. Characterized by a rainy spring. The aroma brings to mind the most delicate, vegetal side of Cabernet franc, directly from noble Tuscany. It is earthy, almost animal, dark with ink, leather, sweet tobacco and rhubarb, a dense and fine balsamic. The very fresh taste denotes a great and nervous acidity, sapid, dynamic, balanced. One sip compels you to take another. It is persistent, with very fine tannins. A hard rock Sassicaia, almost heavy metal, one that causes pleasant vibes. My rating: 92/100
Garnet and bright. It features an ever-changing bouquet that gradually evolves from balsamic undertones into hints of aromatic, very peppery spices. There are capers, graphite, Lebanon cedar, oriental spices. Small hints of tobacco and leather. Vertical tasting: noticeable softness, it is lively, progressive, even though the tannin is slightly “edgy”. Not a robust wine. My rating: 89/100
A good vintage, very warm, not exactly to be forgotten. On the contrary, Americans seem to appreciate it a lot. Garnet Red. To the nose it’s very spicy, fine, with just the right amount of pepper, red fruit jar, coffee beans, sweet tobacco. It’s carpeted with several sweet and pleasant aromas. A very round, almost sweet taste, and a finish that brings out the raspberry jam once more. Every sip is very concentrated and travels on perfect tannins. Fresh wine with soft tannins. It’s still very young with a long way to go, maybe 20-30 more years. My rating: 92/100
“Another good year and a satisfactory vintage”, says Paoli. It opens with notes of Mediterranean scrub, followed by marasca jam with spotted black pepper, violet and a light balsamic background. The marker of the Cabernet Franc is felt in the raspberry scent. Intense, well-balanced taste. It is fresh, savory, soft, with perfect tannins. Drinking it is a real treat for the palate. Long and fair, light, balanced. Perfect and “hypnotic”. It’s the best for my opinion! My rating: 95/100
Red garnet, bright. It has hints of Mediterranean scrub, violet flowers, daisies, roses, cocoa, coffee, then spices such as cloves, rosemary, juniper and even a smidge of red currant. It flows softly and smoothly, with present yet well-polished tannins. Long, progressive, very fresh and perfectly balanced. My rating: 92/100
Dense red garnet in the glass. It is still very fresh, with hints of red and violet fruit, a mix of pepper, melon, balsamic with notes of licorice and menthol. The taste is soft and enveloping, savory, progressive, and it sports an excellent finish with smooth tannins. The most concentrated and rich in fruit, in my opinion. Pleasant and persistent. My rating: 94/100
“It was a suffered vintage, not enough sun and way too much rain”. Red garnet with a smoothed border in the glass. Definitely the youngest, a newcomer to the world of oenology. There are blueberries, berries, violet, pink pepper, hints of wood, moss and the usual raspberry. Fresh, sour, concentrated, pleasant. Tried and true tannins. It’s long, almost balanced. Only a month since bottling. It will be at the top in 4-5 years. It’s a safe investment for the future but even it’s the “Sassicaia Rap” par excellence! My rating: 91/100
This is my personal ranking in order of enjoyment: 2007, 2010, 1994, 2008, 2005, 2014, 1992, 2002
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