- Tenuta San Guido
- Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Sangiovese
- 2022 - 2040
- Case size
- Available Now
Goedhuis, February 2020
A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, this wine is built around the dominant intensity of the deep dark fruit core so reflective of Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2017 Sassicaia displays the rich, warm, rounded fruit characters of the hot summer. It is a structured and subtly powerful wine, with a firm underlying tannic intensity. Superb composure and complexity, and the finish has the hallmarks of Cabernet Franc at its best, giving energy and brightness. Excellent ageing potential.
Antonio Galloni, March 2020,
The 2017 Sassicaia is dark, sensual and rich, which is a good thing, as the tannins - the result of a warm, dry year in which phenolic ripening was difficult to fully reach - are also quite powerful. I tasted the 2017 from an approximate blend from barrel, where the wines are still aging in separate lots. It will be interesting to see where things end up once the wine is in bottle. 93-96pts
Antonio Galloni, March 2019,
The 2017 Sassicaia is a wild, exotic beauty. Sumptuous and flamboyantly ripe, the 2017 captures all the personality of the year in spades. Super-ripe red cherry, pomegranate and spice notes all flesh out in this curvy, racy beauty from Tenuta San Guido.
Wine Advocate, January 2020,
The 2017 Sassicaia is a fascinating wine that symbolizes a never-ending tug-of-war between vintner and vintage. The question is who comes out on top? In this case, my money is on the vintner. The 2017 vintage, characterized by scorching heat and drought across much of Italy, was not an easy one. However, vintners had ample time to prepare because those climatic challenges had already played out midway through the summer season. Vintners with experience such as that amassed at Tenuta San Guido (now on the eve of Sassicaia's 50th birthday celebration) knew exactly how to handle the tricky 2017 growing season. Fruit was harvested early to avoid any jammy sensations, and a strict selection process was employed in order to preserve the best clusters. This Sassicaia represents 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc, with most of the fruit coming from the Tenuta's historic vineyards Castiglioncello, Quercione and Doccino. These plots are all located on the back hill of Bolgheri at slightly higher elevations where they enjoy cooler nighttime temperatures. Old vines also have a deeper root system that is key to braving dry and hot summers. You can absolutely taste those choices here thanks to the wine's aromatic profile that offers more variety-driven green highlights of wild berry, forest floor and bramble than I would have expected. With time, as the wine takes on more air in the glass, you get a hint of summer plum or cherry cough drop, and this, to my surprise, is the only subtle reminder of the hot vintage encountered. I found the aromas here to be authentically "Tuscan" in character, more so than other vintages, with balsamic and Mediterranean elements that borrow directly from the Sangiovese playbook. I left the wine in my glass over the course of a day, checking back periodically, to find a growing mineral profile of rust or metal that recalls the high concentration of iron and manganese found in these Bolgheri soils. Another vintage-specific adjustment made in 2017 was shorter overall maceration times in steel tanks (from 10 to 12 days for the Cabernet Sauvignon and eight to 10 days for the Cabernet Franc). However, pump-overs and délestages were almost doubled in order to introduce more oxygen to the yeasts during fermentations at lower temperatures. Based on my understanding of fermentation kinetics, this means the 2017 Sassicaia would have achieved the same amount of extraction in about half the time. This process champions the cool-temperature fermentations that are a hallmark of Tenuta San Guido, despite the heat of the vintage. This puts more emphasis on aromatic elegance and minerality, rather than mouthfeel texture or creaminess per se. In fact, the 2017 Sassicaia is much shorter in the mid-palate compared to 2015 or 2016. In terms of oak, Tenuta San Guido takes advantage of the softer tannins found in Allier and Tronçais oak. The 2017 vintage saw a greater percentage (from 20% to 30%) of third and fourth passage barrique during the first 10 months of aging. The decision to use more neutral oak favors the reduction of oxygen and softens the tannic profile. Although the wine does end with a hint of bitterness, it took on noticeably more volume and soft richness the longer I kept my sample in the glass. To recap my assessment, and with the memory of the 100-point 2016 vintage so fresh in my mind, I would give this wine a seven out of 10 in terms of aromas, a five out of 10 in terms of mid-palate, and an eight out of 10 in terms of structure. Another way to read those conclusions is as follows: The 2017 Sassicaia was expertly built to withstand a long aging future, yet only time will tell if the beauty of the bouquet will evolve at the same pace. This fascinating wine magically captures the hallmarks of cool-temperature winemaking in one of the hottest vintages in recent years. Vintners, not vintage, won this round. This is a world preview of one of Italy’s most anticipated wines: Sassicaia. The 2017 vintage comes on the heels of the phenomenal 2016 vintage (which scored 100 points) and the beautifully exuberant 2015 vintage (which scored 97 points). The release of those back-to-back successes spurred an unprecedented Sassicaia buying spree that in turn drove growth for the entire market of fine Italian wines. The 2016 Sassicaia in particular has become a benchmark for a new generation of collectors. It is a symbol of the very happy chapter we are living in now on the extended timeline of vino italiano. The 2017 Sassicaia is a very different wine. Its character is more technical, inward-looking and inaccessible compared to the naturally exhilarating and effortless 2016 vintage. The 2017 vintage forces you to think about vintage challenges, winemaking variables and problem solving. The 2017 vintage was not easy and only the most experienced winemakers were able to navigate it successfully. Thanks to the significant know-how and foresight of its creators, the 2017 Sassicaia achieves all of its basic promises with success. However, 2017 will always be the vintage that comes after 2015 and 2016. Drink 2021 - 2040
James Suckling, Sptember 2018,
This shows focus and finesse with dark berries, currants and a light rosemary character. Full-bodied, refined and focused. Serious.
Tenuta San Guido
The Original Super Tuscan, Sassicaia was created in the mid-1940s by the Marquis Mario Incisadella Rochetta, an aristocrat looking to reproduce his favourite wines of Bordeaux - a first in Italian viticulture. Noticeably distinct from the lighter styled wines of the region, the bold expression of Cabernet was not initially well received by the Italian drinking public. As a result, from 1948 to 1960, the wines were consumed only at the estate. The 1968 vintage marked its first commercial release.As Bordeaux blends grew in popularity over the years, Sassicaia was able to create a reputationunparalleled amongst its Super Tuscan peers. Recognising their unique terroir and exceptionalquality, they were even granted their own DOC in 1994 named accordingly, Bolgheri Sassicaia.Keeping these distinctions in mind, a winery of movie set proportions had been expected. Yet infact, it is superbly discrete and modest - reminiscent of a domaine in Burgundy or the Rhône.
The medieval town of Bolgheri was originally made famous by the poet Giosuè Carducci who wrote about the stunning Cypress Avenue, a breathtaking and magical three mile long corridor of trees leading up to the entrance to the village. Swept away to the coastal and most westerly area of Tuscany, Bolgheri has become synonymous with wines known as ‘Super Tuscans'. Composed of classic Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (intermixed with the occasional Sangiovese), the Super Tuscans began as mere experimentation in the 1960s and 70s. These international French varieties flourished in Bolgheri's warm, yet maritime climate which resulted in unexpected success and reknown. It is here that one finds such famous names as Ornellaia, Tignanello and Sassicaia.