Intense, concentrated and deep ruby-colored, this wine offers elegant, complex aromas of red fruit. In the mouth it is rich and dense, yet harmonious, with sweet, balanced tannins. The wine has a long finish with a depth and structure that ensure its extraordinary longevity.
"This is the best young Sassicaia in years. It's the new 1988, which was great, and sometimes better than the legendary 1985. What incredible aromas here with blueberries, spices, licorice, plums. Graphite too. Subtle and complex. Full and silky with a beautiful texture of fine tannins and an ultra-fine finish. So beautiful now but will be much better in 2015. Owner Niccolo Incisa della Rocchetta says that Sassicaia is always great in years that end with eight: 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, and 2008."
97 Points - James Suckling
"The 2008 Sassicaia is a rich, deep wine imbued with notable class in its black cherries, plums, grilled herbs, minerals and smoke. The 2008 is a decidedly buttoned-up, firm Sassicaia that is currently holding back much of its potential, unlike the 2006 and 2007, both of which were far more obvious wines. Readers who can afford to wait will be treated to a sublime wine once this settles down in bottle. Muscular, firm tannins frame the exquisite finish in this dark, implosive Sassicaia. The 2008 Sassicaia is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine spent 24 months in French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038."
96 Points - The Wine Advocate
"Refined and elegant, this is right in step with the reserve of the vintage. Blackberry, plum, cassis and mineral flavors play out with subtle oak spice notes on the finish, where this flexes some muscle. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2025. 9,000 cases imported. "
94 Points - Wine Spectator
"The original Bolgheri wine estate, first planted to Bordelais varieties by Marchese Maro Incisa della Rochetta in the 1940s, this vineyard produced a rich 2008 with dark, earthy power. The youthful tannins are edgy and angular, balanced between black peppercorn spice and resonant, mushroom tones. Built to cellar, this should begin to show its best around ten years from the vintage, and age well beyond that time."
93 Points - Wine & Spirits
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Sassicaia has an intense, concentrated and deep ruby color. The elegant aroma is complex with notes of red fruits. The flavor is powerful, concentrated and has great depth with sweet and balanced tannins. In the mouth it is rich and dense, yet harmonious and elegant. The wine has a decisively long finish with significant depth and a stucture which ensures this wine's extraordinary longevity.
Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc
Wine maker notes
The legacy of Sassicaia begins in 1944, when Mario Incisa acquired a number of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc vine cuttings and planted them on a sloping hillside of the San Guido estate, called Castiglioncello after the 11th-century castle at the vineyard's upper edge. This tiny, 3.75-acre vineyard stood alone until 1965, when a second Cabernet vineyard was planted with cuttings from the Castiglioncello parcel; the gravelly, 30-acre plot would give the wine its name: Sassicaia, "the place of many stones". This and a slightly more elevated microclimate of 20 acres, called Aianova, were planted in phases between 1965 and 1985, bringing plantings to the present extent of 90 acres in vines averaging 20 to 25 years of age.
Since the late 1960s, Sassicaia has represented a standard of production that is without compromise. The grapes are hand picked, destemmed, crushed and fermentation is set off by natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. For the first week, pumping over of the must takes place three times daily; during the second week, this is reduced to once daily until the end of the 14-day fermentation period. The wine is pressed from the skins and undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Aging takes place in 225-litre Allier and Tronçais oak barriques, approximately 30 percent of which are new, for 18 to 22 months depending on vintage.
GRAPE VARIETY: 85-90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10-15% Cabernet Franc
MAXIMUM YIELD: 30-32 hl/ha (134-144 cases/acre)
As a student in Pisa during the 1920's, the Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamed of creating a "noble" wine. Like most of Italian aristocracy at the time, his taste in wine ran strongly to fine Bordeaux.
After settling with his wife, Clarice, into their Tuscan estate at Tenuta San Guido on the Mediterranean Coast, he experimented with several French grape varieties and concluded, "the bouquet I was looking for” was found in the Cabernet.
A wine that had Cabernet Sauvignon as its primary component represented a radical shift from the traditional Tuscan and Piedmontese varietals of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. No one had ever considered making a wine crafted along Bordeaux lines on Italian soil, much less in a region not yet established viticulturally. In addition to the Cabernet’s satisfactory bouquet, the Marquis’ decision to plant this grape variety at Tenuta San Guido was influenced by the Tuscan location’s similarity to Graves in Bordeaux. "Graves” means "gravel” in French, and similarly, the earth at Tenuta San Guido gave Sassicaia its name, which in the Tuscan dialect means "stony ground”.
However, accustomed to the light, local wines, consumers did not respond well to the first vintages of Sassicaia. Wines made from the more complex Cabernet Sauvignon grapes take more time to mature and develop. Subsequently, from 1948 to 1960, Sassicaia was consumed only at the estate.
Each year, a small number of cases were laid down in the cellars of Castiglioncello.
The Marquis discovered that as the years went by, however, the wine greatly improved. As is often the case with wines of great pedigree, those things originally considered defects turned into virtues over time. Soon, friends and relatives were urging him to pursue his passion and to perfect his revolutionary style of winemaking.
In 1965, he planted two more vineyards comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc; the new "Sassicaia” vineyard was situated approximately 800 feet lower than the original Cabernet vineyard near Castiglioncello, and "Aianova” was slightly more elevated and thus exposed to the weather. Eventually, all of the wine produced on the estate came to be known by the name of Sassicaia.
The 1968 vintage of Sassicaia was the first to be offered on the open market, and it was as well received as the Premier Crus from Bordeaux. In subsequent years the cellars were moved to temperature-controlled quarters, wood fermentation vats were replaced with stainless steel ones, and French oak barriques were used for the ageing process.
The Marquis’ use of Cabernet grapes and his implementation of the barriques aging process soon spread throughout Italy. Sassicaia was the first Italian wine to successfully establish itself abroad, and is almost universally recognized as the father of the new Italian wine family or simply the Super Tuscan Pioneer. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta’s planting is now considered the birthplace of Italian Cabernet.
Pair with braised meats and hard cheeses.
Hailed as the standard-bearer of Italian enology, the historic Tenuta San Guido estate is known for crafting Sassicaia, the world’s first Super Tuscan and an important contribution to Italy’s evolving reputation as a fine-wine producing nation in the mid-20th century. From the ambition of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta to plant Bordeaux varieties in Tuscany in the 1940s to the arrival of acclaimed consulting oenologist Giacomo Tachis to the introduction of two additional wines to the brand, Tenuta San Guido has vaulted from success to success.
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