The producer of Sassicaia, the renowned super Tuscan red, is extending his winemaking activity to Sardinia, with last month's $1.5 million purchase of a 74-acre property in the Sulcis area, in the southwest corner of the Italian island.
Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, who owns Tenuta San Guido winery in Bolgheri, said this is his first step in a planned overall investment of $4 million in Sardinia. He is negotiating to buy another 175 acres, and plans to create a 250-acre estate that will produce a single red wine.
Incisa della Rocchetta is working on the project with his stepson, Sebastiano Rosa, who was, until recently, manager and commercial director of the Brunello estate of Argiano. Earlier this year, the two partners launched a new red, Guidalberto, from vineyards near the San Guido estate in Tuscany.
Their new holding in Sardinia contains about 57 acres of vineyards, planted to Carignane (called Carignano in Italy), which are being harvested now. Incisa della Rocchetta said the first wine from the estate, a red made entirely from Carignane, will be released two years from now, after aging in barrel for 12 to 18 months. In the future, he said, other varietals, such as Syrah, may eventually be introduced from newly planted vineyards.
As there is currently no winery on the estate, Incisa della Rocchetta has signed an agreement with the nearby Cantina Sociale di Santadi, where his wine will be made for the foreseeable future. "We want to see the results first, before thinking about building a new winery," he said, adding that no decision has been made on the name of the estate or the new wine.
The consulting enologist for the project will be veteran winemaker Giacomo Tachis, who has worked closely with Incisa della Rocchetta in Bolgheri for many years and played a major role in the creation of Sassicaia. Tachis is no stranger to Sardinia, where he already consults for one of the island's best estates, Argiolas.
"Tachis and I have been talking about the possibility of an investment in Sardinia for years," Incisa della Rocchetta said. "We both believe that quality wine can be made there, thanks to the good climate and good soil."
The estate, said Incisa della Rocchetta, will eventually have the capacity to produce between 12,000 to 15,000 cases of wine, which will initially carry a mid-range price tag.
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