Having charted the development of the 2013s over several recent visits to Tuscany’s west coast, it is clear that this is a year destined for greatness.
So where does 2013 sit amongst recent excellent releases? The summers of 2011 and 2012 were exceptionally hot in the daytime but there were considerable fluctuations in temperature that prevented water stress in the vine and a repeat of the problems encountered in 2003. These are two successful years in their own right that will show well in youth but cellar for over 10 years.
In 2013, the growing season saw fewer extremes and more consistency throughout the year. After a mild winter there was rain interspersed at the optimal times and although the summer was hot, it was below the seasonal average and the sporadic periods of precipitation kept the vineyards well nourished. The Cabernet grapes arrived from the vineyard in an optimum state of ripeness.
This is a very fine year, potentially the most significant since 2006, and one that will require considerable patience. Ultimately it will outlive the 2011 and 2012 and develop into a true classic.
2013 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido
£525.00 per 6 bottles IB
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc
The exciting 2013 Bolgheri Sassicaia is shaping up to be an epic rendition of this celebrated wine. You get a clear sense of the quality of fruit with your first twirl of the glass. Even at this young stage, the wine shows impressive intensity and elegance. It boasts dark fruit nuances with bold cherry and blackberry that will gain focus and traction with time. Oak notes of vanilla and cinnamon are beginning to show their first signs of mellow integration. This was a cool but classic vintage that saw enhanced aromas, acidity and all the qualities that lead to healthy longevity. The 2013 vintage promises greatness. Drink 2018-2040.
95-97 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
Tasted from separate lots in barrel, the 2013 Sassicaia is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Rich, layered and expansive on the palate, the 2013 possesses remarkable depth, spherical texture and fine, silky tannins that wrap around the finish. A first sample, taken from a parcel in Mandrione shows remarkable perfume, while a second sample, from 40 year-old vines in Castiglioncello is all about density and power. There is a lot to look forward to here, that much is obvious. Drink 2023-2043.
93-96+ points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
Background to the most celebrated ‘Super Tuscan’
In the 1920s, the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamt of creating a thoroughbred wine in the hope of emulating the success of Bordeaux on the Tyrrhenian coast. Identifying the similarities in soil between the gravelly west coast of Tuscany and Graves in Bordeaux, he set about experimenting with French varieties. The first few vintages weren’t warmly received which wasn’t encouraging. Used to to light, local wines, critics simply weren’t accustomed to the richer more complex flavours that the Cabernet grape offredand thus the vintages between 1958 to 1967 were created purely for private consumption. After extensive ageing the Marchese soon realised that his wines improved considerably and his friends persuaded him to release his wines commercially. The 1968 vintage was released onto the market to universal acclaim and became the first of what were to become known as the ‘Super Tuscans’. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Sassicaia is now widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon blends to be produced outside of the Bordeaux 1st Growths. The 1985 vintage was awarded 100 points by Robert Parker and its iconic reputation was cemented.
‘Super Tuscan’ market report
The demand for exclusive Italian wines, centred around the ‘Super Tuscans’ and Brunello di Montalcino, shows no sign of abating. A combination of dynamic, forward thinking wine making and a succession of good and great vintages in the last decade have drawn buyers in. At a time when Bordeaux has fallen from favour, the wines from the Tuscan coast have captured the market’s imagination and Sassicaia, alongside Masseto, leads the pack.
“In August 2015 Italy overtook Burgundy to become the second most traded regional group of wines – after Bordeaux – in 2015. As of the end of October 2015, its average monthly share (year to date) is 7.1%. This is a steady increase on previous years: in 2014, it represented 5.1% of activity by value. Back in 2010, it accounted for just 0.9%.
Although Italy’s relative importance on the secondary market can partly be accounted for by Bordeaux’s decline, activity for Italian wines has also been increasing in absolute terms: value traded in 2015 increased by 34% on 2014. Activity is dominated by the youngest wines: 80.1% of value traded has been for the 2009-12 vintages; less than 6% is from those older than 2006.” LivEx