The latest release from Tenuta San Guido is the 2019 Bolgheri Sassicaia. The bouquet is up front and very expressive from the get-go. It offers a generous display of crunchy, dark cherry that hints at the extra concentration and fruit weight obtained in the 2019 growing season. This vintage will be remembered for the crisp richness of the fruit and its important textural imprint.
It also shows fine elegance, bordering on the ethereal, with berry aromas, tarry earth and brushes of balsam herb or grilled rosemary. Sassicaia always shows an almost-glossy finely knit quality to the polished mouthfeel, and I find it again here next to fresh acidity and firm tannins. Mouthfeel in 2019 is the wine's strongest suit.
The 2019 is one of the prettiest and most balanced editions of Sassicaia we've seen this past decade, along with the back-to-back duo of 2016 and 2015. The 2019 marries the precision of the 2016 with the rich fruit weight of the 2015.
Drink 2025 - 2055
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (January 2022)
The purity of cabernet sauvignon fruit is exceptional here, with character and sensibility that’s reminiscent of some of the great Sassicaias from the 1980s, such as 1982 or 1988. But this is much more precise and clean. Aromas and flavors of currants and berries with cedar and earth.
Sage and minty character, too. It’s full-bodied yet there’s so much polish and balance, together with structure, elegance, and refinement. Hard not to drink at this stage, yet give it time and respect. This will be a classic Sass and reminds me why I love this wine.
Try after 2026
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2022)
Sassicaia 2019 spent 25 months in oak (one-third new). ‘We are going longer in oak in the past few years,’ said Carlo Paoli, managing director of Tenuta San Guido. Quite pale in the glass, the nose is extremely graceful and intense with a lavender note enhanced by restrained bramble fruits, fermented citrus peel, an intense violet aroma and graphite minerality in depth.
The attack is soft and full, the flavor savoury and cedary through to the finish, with integrated velvety tannins and lifted acidity. A perfectly woven structure is bound with signature freshness and fruit vibrancy, making this one for the long haul.
Drink 2022 - 2050
Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter.com (June 2022)
About this WINE
Sassicaia is today one of the most sought-after fine wines in the world. This is largely because of the vision, energy and drive of proprietor Mario Incisa della Rocchetta.
The Sassicaia estate at Bolgheri came from Mario Incisa della Rocchetta's wife's family who had owned land there since 1800 - the name Sassicaia means,place of many stones, and the gravelly soil has been compared to those found in the Médoc. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and engaged the services of Piero Antinori`s winemaker, Giacomo Tachis.
Sassicaia's first vintage was released to universal acclaim in 1968. Sassicaia is now widely accepted as one of the world`s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon wines and made history recently, being the first single wine to be granted its own DOC. The wines of Sassicaia combine intense notes of cassis and cedary elegance, with extraordinary power and length.
Bolgheri is a new DOC in the coastal Maremma region which first rose to prominence during the 1970s with the emergence of the so-called Super Tuscan wines like Ornellaia and Sassicaia. These new ventures had rocked the DOC establishment by using high proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, opting out of the DOC system and relabeling their wines as simply Vino da Tavola (table wine).
Having won universal acclaim and exchanging hands for unprecedented prices (higher even than Tuscany's finest examples), the authorities relented and awarded Bolgheri its own DOC. The actions of the Super Tuscans inspired a generation in Italy, even if some of the wines here have lost a little of their lustre since.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.