Tenuta San Guido is named after the Saint Guido della Gherardesca who lived during the XI century. It is located on the Tyrrhenian coast, between Leghorn and Grosseto, in Maremma an area made famous by Italian Nobel prize winner Giosuè Carducci, and it stretches for 13 km from the sea to the hills. The Sassicaia wine, the Razza Dormello-Olgiata thoroughbred stud farm and the Bird Sanctuary Padule di Bolgheri are the three defining aspects of the vineyard. They divide the estate between the Padule on the coast, the horse’s training grounds on the plain, and the vineyards planted up to 350 meters on the hills. The latter have been given their own DOC, the DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, the first, and so far only case in Italy of a DOC contained in one estate.
In the 1920s the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamt of creating a ‘thoroughbred’ wine and for him, as for all the aristocracy of the time, the ideal was Bordeaux. In the 1940s, having settled with his wife Clarice on the Tenuta San Guido on the Tyrrhenian coast, he experimented with several French grape varieties (whose cuttings he had recovered from the estate of the Dukes Salviati in Migliarino) and concluded that the Cabernet had “the bouquet I was looking for.” 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. “Graves”, or “gravel” in French refers to the rocky terrain which distinguishes the Bordeaux area; similarly, the gravely vineyard sites in Tuscany impart the same characteristics on Sassicaia, “stony ground”, as its cherished French brother.
Having followed this wine’s evolution in barrel for the past few years, it is an honor to evaluate the final product. This Sassicaia has blossomed since my previous encounters with it as a young, awkward adolescent. The long-awaited 2015 Bolgheri Sassicaia represents a tremendous effort that comes together with seamless precision and focus. This is a confident and proud red wine from Tuscany. Starting with the primary material at hand, you sense the quality of fruit thanks to the wine’s beautifully dark appearance and the rich texture it offers to the palate. The acidity is integrated, but more freshness still would have been welcomed in my view (and would also contribute to its longevity). The bouquet is amplified both in terms of volume and length. Its playlist includes dark berry fruit, spice, leather, licorice and roasted coffee bean. Yet, the mouthfeel is extremely graceful and silky. The wine’s undisputed pedigree is showcased on the palate. It should also be noted that this edition of Sassicaia feels more ready and open to me. It will age and evolve beautifully, but the 2015 Sassicaia can also be enjoyed in the medium-term. This wine is all about the here and now.