Hailed as the standard-bearer of Italian enology, the historic Tenuta San Guido estate is known for crafting Sassicaia, the world’s first Super Tuscan and an important contribution to Italy’s evolving reputation as a fine-wine producing nation in the mid-20th century. From the ambition of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta to plant Bordeaux varieties in Tuscany in the 1940s to the arrival of acclaimed consulting oenologist Giacomo Tachis to the introduction of two additional wines to the brand, Tenuta San Guido has vaulted from success to success.
Sassicaia means “the place of many stones,” and refers to the region’s gravel soil. The original vineyards have a southwest exposure with extensive sun and maritime breezes that create robust vegetation. Grapes are handpicked, destemmed and crushed before fermenting with natural yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French oak barriques, then refined in bottle before release. Sassicaia’s success prompted the Italian government to grant the wine its own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, beginning with the 1994 vintage.
Intense, concentrated and deep ruby-colored, this wine offers elegant, complex aromas of red fruit. In the mouth it is rich and dense, yet harmonious, with sweet, balanced tannins. The wine has a long finish with a depth and structure that ensure
Wine Enthusiast: "All about radiance and finesse, this iconic Tuscan red has beguiling aromas of cedar, wild red berry, menthol and pipe tobacco that mingle with fragrant blue flowers. Made with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, the focused, elegantly structured palate is vibrant and savory, delivering cassis, orange zest, licorice and a hint of coffee framed in taut, polished tannins. Bright acidity keeps it energized and balanced. Drink through 2033." Jul 2021
Robert Parker, Jr.'s Wine Advocate: "This is a classic vintage of an Italian icon now celebrating its 50th vintage. The Tenuta San Guido 2018 Bolgheri Sassicaia lays out a familiar blueprint that borrows from the proven track record of this landmark estate that extends into the hills just beyond the Tyrrhenian shores of Tuscany. This vintage is crystalline and pure in its delivery, and if you are familiar with previous editions, it is impossible to mistake this wine for anything but Sassicaia.
The growing season started off cool and wet but turned to warm and dry conditions comfortably before the harvest. Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc in a supporting role deliver a graceful mid-weight texture that holds back style-wise in terms of phenolic density. The wine's careful balance is achieved thanks to the nuanced character of the fruit, the present acidity, the well-managed structure and the contained alcohol. The palate is lifted and bright, the finish is polished and long, and the wine skips over any heaviness on the mid-palate. The bouquet is especially intriguing with a very lively plummy fruit element that is enhanced by baker's chocolate, pepper spice, iron ore, caramel and pie crust. There is also a green character that adds positively to the bouquet with aniseed, tea leaf, soya, menthol rub and black olive. The fruit maturity is spot-on with no elements that feel over or underripe. Overall, the 2018 Sassicaia weighs in with a svelte frame and long persistence. Moreover, it is distinguished by the archetypal elegance and pedigree of the classic vintages of the past. This new release gives you much pleasure to await." Drink date: 2024-2045." Jan 2021
Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "The 2018 Sassicaia is fabulous. Bright and beautifully poised, the 2018 opens with brilliant aromatics that make a strong first impression. Delicate and light on its feet, the 2018 is a regal wine that is going to need a number of years to come into its own. Sassicaia is the most finessed of Bolgheri’s top wines. That is very much the case in 2018 as well. I loved it.
A cold winter led to a late spring and delayed start to the year. May and June saw some heat, but only moderate temperatures. Only July was truly warm, with minimal diurnal shifts. Cool winds arrived again in August, and temperatures dropped quickly, especially at night. Mid-August saw some rain. Harvest started on September 7 with the Franc and wrapped up on the 29th with the last of Cabernet Sauvignon. The year favored the estate’s oldest vineyards, those on hillside sites. The 2018 spent 19 months in oak, two-thirds new, a bit more new oak than the norm. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Franc, a bit less Franc than is often the case, as Franc suffered more under the conditions of the season. Drinking window.: 2026-2043." Feb 2021
James Suckling: "Beautiful, serene aromas of sweet berries and wild flowers with light lavender and fresh sage. Really aromatic. A firm, silky red with medium to full body and ultra fine tannins that are polished and beautiful. Lots of blue fruit and blackberries follow through to a beautiful finish. Really tight and polished. Bright acidity. Will be lovely to drink in a few years. The 2017 and 2016 were about power, but the 2018 is about finesse and subtlety. Try after 2024." Feb 2021
Wine Spectator: "Refined and complex, this red is all about finesse and restraint, starting out with floral and black currant flavors that build steadily on the palate, with olive, cedar, tobacco and spice notes adding detail as this lingers on the terrific finish. Needs five to seven years to fully emerge. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2025 through 2045." 2021its extraordinary longevity. Pair with braised meats and hard cheeses.
Winery: "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."
|Varietal||83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc|
|Aging||18-22 months in 225-litre Allier and Tronçais oak barriques, approximately 30 percent of which are new|
|Region||Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy|