Jan 28, 2024Mads Nyvang

Sassicaia is a wine from the very top shelf and probably the biggest wine on the Italian wine scene. Sassicaia is the first Super Tuscan, and is described as the wine that changed Tuscany's wine history. Sassicaia has received several 100P from various wine writers around the world, and the wine has therefore become an Italian icon within wine. Sassicaia 1985 received the maximum 100P from Robert Parker, and was compared to Mouton-Rotchild, making the wine world famous overnight. Every year, the wine is also awarded the reviewers' routine top ratings, including the hard-to-achieve three glasses of Gambero Rosso.

Tenuta San Guido

Sassicaia is made at the Tenuta San Guido winery in Bolgheri on the coast of Tuscany. In addition to Sassicaia, San Guido produces 2 other wines: Guidalberto and Le Difese. The story of the winery began when Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamed of creating a full-blooded wine back in the 1920s.

In the 1940s, Mario planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which was inspired by Bordeaux's world-famous 1. Cru's. In his eyes, the soils of Tenuta San Guido had the same characteristics as those of Bordeaux, characterized by being filled with gravel and other pebbles. A wine made mainly from Cabernet was a groundbreaking change from tradition in Tuscany and Piedmont, which had always produced wines from Sangiovese and Nebbiolo respectively.

Mario was the first person in Tuscany to use new French oak barrels, which was a big change in Tuscany. It was not until 1968 that Mario told the rest of the world about his new wine Sassicaia, which he named after the sandy and gravelly soil.

Right from the first moment, the wine became an international success, and at the same time Sassicaia placed itself at the top of the Italian hierarchy in wine. The wine became the first so-called quality wine to really break through on the international export markets.

Historical development of Sassicaia

It was only in 1994 that the revision of the DOC regulations came, and it was here that allowed the red wines into the heat and at the same time positioned Sassicaia as a very special Bolgheri Superiore. A position that was improved in 2013, when authorities lifted Sassicaia to the very top shelf in the Italian hierarchy as one of the great wines in Italy. Now Sassicaia has its very own Denominazione di Origine Controllata Bolgheri Sassicaia.

Sassicaia is today considered the first Super Tuscan, and the father of the many other Italian wines based on cabernet grapes. The vineyard covers approximately 90 hectares, and the planted area is divided into areas adapted based on special characteristics in both the composition of the soil as well as the exposure.

The ball started rolling when the 1972 vintage became world-famous overnight, when in a blind tasting it placed ahead of 33 other Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wines, including the entire gaping top from Bordeaux. It was the first warning shot that there were so-called super Tuscans on the way and slowly, and despite the fact that Sassicaia has never been voluminous, generous and immediate as those that a young Robert Parker raised to fame, Sassicaia slowly became an icon on the Italian wine scene.

The ball started rolling in 1972 when it became famous for placing ahead of 33 other Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines, including the entire gaping top from Bordeaux. This was undoubtedly the first warning shot that super Tuscans including Sassicaia were slowly moving forward in the wine world.

The most amazing thing is that now some 50 years later, Sassicaia's star is twinkling brighter and more powerfully than ever before, although with about 200.000 annual bottles produced not long ago is a small niche production, as it once was. In fact, the wine can still seem unreasonably reserved when young, it is a wine that only gets better with time. It can be many years before Sassicaia reaches its peak, and it is therefore interesting to find some of the first wines that the world-famous producer Tenuta San Guido sent to the market.

The vineyards

A number of the vines are planted on the hillside, at an altitude of 200-300 meters above sea level.

The climate is essential for the healthy and correct ripening of the grapes.The sea and the hills that protect the vineyards from strong winds are important factors in the cultivation.

The location of the vineyards in a variety of areas and altitudes is a decisive factor in the complexity of the wines, and contributes to a wide selection for the harvest, depending on the weather conditions and the ripening of the grapes.A study at the University of Pisa proved this. The study highlighted what was unique about the vineyards of Tenuta San Guido was the soil type and exposure compared to the surrounding area.

The change of inheritance

Today it is Mario's adopted son Sebastiano Rosa who, together with one of Italy's leading female winemakers Graziana Grassini, carries on the proud legacy of producing a colossal wine of great historical importance. It was the winemaker Giacomo Tachis who had spotted Graziana back in the 1980s, when she created her first wines. When the old champion retired in 2009, Graziana could step up next to Sebastiano Rosa.

Sassicaia wine

Sassicaia is a red wine made from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine is made from grapes from older vines which, unlike young vines, give the wine a deep and complex taste. The grapes come from independent vineyards that Mario planted many years ago. All Sassicaia wines are aged in French oak casks for typically 24 months, which is the reason for the nice roasted cask notes that are often found in the wine.

The wine has a deep aroma of dark berry fruit, including ripe blackcurrants. The color is saturated red purple with a shade of bluish color. Sassicaia is a red wine with fine polished tannins, which is something that many wine writers, including wine enthusiasts, emphasize about the wine. The wine is made with the clear aim of being the world's best wine, which to that extent must be said to have succeeded.

Buy Sassicaia at Bottles with History

At Bottles with History we are experts in wine with age and we have unique access to a wide range of brandy wines including Sassicaia, Tiganello, Conterno, Gaja etc. If you need a bottle, send us an email with a request for the vintage you want, and we will do everything we can to get the product for you.

We have wines from all vintages of the last 100 years, and are the leaders in Denmark in vintage wines.

In Sassicaia, Italy has a cult wine that has taken its own responsibility and entered the big wine scene. Tenuta San Guido is a producer who has been a pioneer in the development of Italian wine, and the winery therefore has every right to brand itself as the great pride of Tuscany and Italy.