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Sassicaia: an iconic wine that was born as a family production

The boom in winemaking along the coast of Tuscany is relatively recent.  Sassicaia, on the market since 1972 (harvest 1968), acted as a trailblazer of an incredible enological progress of the area to the south of Pisa (province of Livorno).

What has become the most famous label of Tuscany was born as a house wine from a piece of land that Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, Piedmontese origin, had as a wedding gift; for 20 years it was only a family wine, to share with friends.

The Marquis Incisa della Rocchetta (1889 – 1983), a lover of horses and great French wines, had decided to plant Cabernet sauvignon in 1944, with the Bordeaux wines in mind. At the beginning nobody liked his wine; it was an innovative wine, too far from the local taste, and remained anonymous for 20 years, until the wine was put on the market with the support of his brother-in-law, Niccolò Antinori, and the oenologist Giacomo Tachis, Antinori’s consultant.

The vintages 1980, 1981 and then 1985 were worldwide successful and the extent of such success has not yet been exhausted. Sassicaia has triggered a chain reaction of the local area and of the whole region, remaining however labelled as a table wine for a long time.

Only since 1994, it is a DOC wine (controlled denomination of origin). Vintage 2015 ranked position N.1 in the “Top 100 list” of Wine Spectator. Mario’s son, Niccolò Incisa della Rocchetta, has led the winery (i.e. Tenuta San Guido) for decades and now Mario’s granddaughter, Priscilla, is continuing the story of success.

While Sassicaia is nowadays a blue-chip wine, there are over 50 wineries in Bolgheri, making fine wines with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.

The Bolgheri Sassicaia 2015 is obtained from Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) and Cabernet Franc and is aged for two years in French barriques (for a third new). 2015 was a very good season in Tuscany with a regular and very warm summer, that allowed for grape ripeness and sanity.

I had the chance to taste Bolgheri Sassicaia 2015 and here are my tasting notes:

Deeply ruby red colour with a garnet red rim; very bright. It has a compelling nose that opens up with balsamic herbs and ripe blueberry and blackcurrant notes; it’s also spicy and mineral and you never get tired of smelling it. On the palate it is full of energy thanks to perfectly ripe and thick tannins. It’s a full-body wine with an absolutely elegant texture and it stays with you for so long, with reminds of rosemary and orange juice. It’s a really outstanding wine!

Fabio Ceccarelli
Italy4golf Italian Ambassador

Bolgheri Sassicaia 2015, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fabio Ceccarelli, Giacomo Tachis, Marchese Incisa della Rocchetta, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, Niccolò Antinori, Niccolò Incisa della Rocchetta, Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, Sassicaia, Sassicaia tasting, Syrah, Tenuta San Guido, Tuscan Wines, Tuscany, Wine Spectator