Tenuta San Guido is named after Saint Guido della Gherardesca who lived during the XI century. It lies within sight of the Mediterranean sea near Grosseto and stretches for 13 kilometers to the gently rolling inland hills. It’s gorgeous but untamed country.
The story of Sassicaia begins in 1930 with the wedding of Mario Incisa della Rocchetta and Clarice della Gherardesca. The couple shared a love for thoroughbred horses which propelled them to form a racing partnership. Meanwhile, Mario’s love for fine wine inspired him to plant Cabernet vines in 1942 for what was to become Sassicaia.
The first commercial release of the wine occurred in 1968. Back then, production was nearly microscopic. Over the years, that slightly increased and wines from younger vineyards were added. Today, the estate is planted to 90 hectares of vines which lie approximately 200-300 meters above sea level.
Sassicaia is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. Like the great Bordeaux estates on which Tenuta San Guido was modeled, the wine’s construction mirrors the plantings in the vineyards. Giacomo Tachis inspired the formula and that’s been the case since 1968.
The 2016 Sassicaia is gorgeous. I decanted the wine for almost 2 hours. In the glass, it is a nearly opaque purple color that fades ever so slightly at the rim of the bowl. Delicate aromas of purple and blue flowers lead the array of aromas from the glass. Crushed black plum, Tuscan scrub herbs and hints of gun powder solidify the orchestration.
On the palate, the wine is brooding and confident. Layers of black fruit flavors cascade across your palate with viscous ripeness and intensity. Complexity is added from trace minerals, leaf tobacco and cedar. All is in wonderful balance. The Cabernet Franc appears to be asserting itself handily and it’s very appealing. There is no question that this was delicious. Yet it only provides the faintest glimpse of what it will become. Last year, the 2009 was in a wonderful place. I expect the 2016 will follow that trajectory easily.
Sassicaia is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French barrique for 24 months pursuant to the DOC regulations. One third of the barriques are new with each vintage while the remainder are two and three years old. 96 points. Find this wine.
The legend was born in 1968. It lives. Salute!