Venue: Tenuta San Guido’s spanking-new ageing…temple. I am at a loss for a word to describe an ageing cellar that is not underground and thus not technically a cellar. Most barrel rooms in Tuscany’s Bolgheri zone, which is near the sea, are above ground as the water level is too high to allow for any deep excavation.
I tasted six vintages of Sassicaia while sitting at a long table in the cool central section of the building. Through thick glass walls on either side of me I could see the barrels containing the 2007 and 2008 vintages of Sassicaia. Behind me was a lawn strewn with rose bushes and in front of me I could see a sweep of fields that stretch to the blue-grey hills. The tasting was hosted by Sebastiano Rosa, a youngish man, with a thick beard and curling hair that fans out below his ears. Mr. Rosa is the nephew (“favorite step-nephew”) of Mario Incisa della Rochetta – the creator of this famous wine. Mr. Rosa is also Technical Director and Marketing Manager for the estate, having first worked at Chateau Lafite and in other parts of Tuscany.
“My uncle planted in this area in the 1920s and 30s,” said Mr. Rosa. “Everyone told him that he couldn’t produce fine wines here because it was too near the sea. In the 40s, after tasting some Cabernet Sauvignon in Pisa, he decided to plant the grape here. I know that the mythology says that his Cabernet Sauvignon came from Bordeaux – it’s a sexier idea – but the truth is it came from Pisa.”
The first vintage of Sassicaia was the 1948. The first commercial vintage was the 1968.