I went on a road trip on Tuesday to Tenuta San Guido, the producer of Tuscany’s famous red, Sassicaia. It’s in the coastal area of Bolgheri, about a two-hour drive from my house with no traffic, or about an hour south of Pisa by car.
I try to go every year and taste with Niccolo Incisa della Rocchetta, the owner of the estate. This year is the property’s 40th anniversary for commercially producing a Bordeaux blend, although they made wines well before then for private consumption. I once had a bottle of 1958 Sassicaia.
The blend hasn’t changed much over the years. It remains mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc as well. It’s aged in about one-third new oak barrels for about 14 to 16 months before bottling. I like the sleek, almost mineral character to the wine. It’s difficult to taste when young, because it seems a little austere and tight, and can be easy to misjudge.
But Sass ages wonderfully. I had a bottle of the 1998 at dinner with Niccolo after visiting the winery. And it was still too young. Here is the tasting note:
1998 Sassicaia: Mineral, ripe fruit, almost raisiny but comes out milk chocolate and berry. Full and round tannins yet powerful and rich. Opens with time. A beautiful bottle. 96 points, non-blind. Give it another five to six years.
I think you are going to like the 2005. I have already tasted it blind for the magazine. The note is forthcoming on the website and in the magazine.
Niccolo and I tasted the 2006 and 2007 from barrel, and for the moment, I have a slight preference for the 2006. It is a little richer than the 2007 and reminds me of the classic 1998. The 2007 is sleeker and racier, more in the vain of 1997. Here are my unofficial tasting notes for both:
2006: Very intense aromas of blackberries, currants and licorice. Full bodied, with chewy tannins and loads of backbone. Big and rich. Long and beautiful. Powerful. Potentially classic quality here. More like 1998.
2007 Sassicaia: Lots of tar, black licorice and spice on the nose. Full bodied, chewy and rich. Very Pauillac. Very powerful. Tannic. This is like 1997. Clearly in the outstanding range.
Niccolo seemed to have the same ideas about the wines. Check out my video below. And, I would love to see any recent notes anyone has on Sassacaia.
Michael J Wilson — U-Line — July 24, 2008 9:10pm ET
Michael Haley — Eugene, OR — July 24, 2008 10:15pm ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — July 25, 2008 12:42am ET
Goran Rudic — Oakville, ON, Canada — July 25, 2008 1:41am ET
James Suckling — — July 25, 2008 2:39am ET
Robert Horvath — July 25, 2008 9:00am ET
James Suckling — — July 25, 2008 9:40am ET
Emily — July 25, 2008 10:36am ET
Dan Kosta — July 25, 2008 11:52am ET
James Suckling — — July 25, 2008 12:05pm ET
Bill Robinson — Calgary — July 25, 2008 4:07pm ET
Don Sritong — Chicago, IL — July 25, 2008 4:12pm ET
Maes — Belgium/Brussels — July 26, 2008 4:39pm ET
James Suckling — — July 26, 2008 6:09pm ET
Kirk R Grant — Ellsworth, ME — July 26, 2008 11:24pm ET
David Drozdror — Henderson — July 27, 2008 2:19am ET
Theodore Mukamal — NY, NY — February 9, 2009 12:29am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions