A Winemaker’s Vintage: Sassicaia 2017


The remarkable story of Sassicaia begins in the 1940s when Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta experimented with crafting a top Bordeaux-style red on his wife’s Tuscan estate in the then little-known region of Bolgheri. Thanks to his influence and broad network, the Marchese was able to source top quality Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. The result of his experiment was a runaway success, and Sassicaia quickly became known as Italy’s most famous blue chip wine.

The first commercial vintage of Sassicaia came in 1968 and the intervening years have brought a string of exceptional bottlings. “The 1985 is considered one of the greatest wine ever made as well as 1997 which was made by the masterful genius Giacomo Tachis, surely the greatest winemaker in Italy until his untimely death,” comments Olivier Gasselin, Oeno’s Head of Trade.

In keeping with the traditions of Bordeaux which have greatly influenced Tenuta San Guido’s philosophy, a second wine was introduced using the estate’s younger wines, Guidalberto. A third wine Le Difese has appeared more recently, allowing Tenuta San Guido to produce a wine that delivers both quality and value while increasing the quality of both Sassicaia and Guidalberto. Oeno is delighted to launch an allocation of Sassicaia 2017 along with Tenuta San Guido’s other wines, the Guidalberto 2018 and Le Difese 2018.

Sassicaia 2017

“Why buy Sassicaia 2017? This is a perfect example of a wine that we expect to be a great medium-term investment,” explains Justin Knock, Master of Wine and Oeno’s Chief Wine Analyst. “It’s considered a year for drinking rather than for holding for the long term (such as 2016), so 2017 will be consumed more quickly than either of the preceding two vintages and be more attractively priced for restaurants further spurring consumption. Given the reduced yields in 2017, there will also be less Sassicaia to go around. All these elements will drive tighter supply in the medium-term and we expect to see some solid price appreciation over 3-5 years.”

2017 was a challenging year for many Italian winemakers, but this vintage shows off the sheer winemaking talent and adaptability of Tenuta San Guido. “It seems that in 2017 Sassicaia have made efforts to mitigate the impacts of the heat and drought by sourcing from cooler, older blocks on the estate and reducing maceration in the winery to avoid excess tannin extraction. The product seems to be a fresher wine without the profound richness of 2016, for example,” comments Justin Knock. Wine critics have already responded favourably with James Suckling awarding the vintage 95-96 points.

Guidalberto 2018 & Le Difese 2018

“Guidalberto 2018 is a beautiful and harmonious vintage with classic styling thanks to the cooler year,” explains Justin Knock, “and a very open structure and accessibility thanks to the long growing season and average yields. Again, this will be wine for medium-term cellaring and drinking but don’t be surprised for this to also disappear quite quickly as restaurants are going to love serving this by the glass.”

Guidalberto 2018 is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot aged in French and some American oak barrels for 15 months. This classically-proportioned wine is an ideal to drink or hold, while the Le Difese 2018 also displays the character of the cooler vintage with wonderful drinkability and elegance. This youthful wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot matured for 8 months in French oak barrels which have previously been used to make Sassicaia. Both wines offer sensational QPR with the Guidalberto 2018 awarded 93 points by Antoni Galloni and Le Difese scoring a solid 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

For further information and to reserve your allocation, please contact your account manager or the Oeno team at info@oenofuture.com.

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