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Sassicaia: 2018 is the legendary wine’s 50th vintage

The history of the Tenuta San Guido icon that indelibly marked an era in Bolgheri and the rebirth of Italian wine, is half a century old

Few wines, in Italy and around the world, can be defined the champion of champions. In other words, to use a sports metaphor, those who have changed the game or, in wine terms, have made an indelible mark on an era of growth for the reputation not only of that single wine, but of the entire territory, if not the entire Country. One of these, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is Sassicaia. It is an iconic Italian wine, famous all over the world. Sassicaia was created by the genius of Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, and built over years of dreams and research, together with the indispensable contribution of Giacomo Tachis. The family, Nicolò and Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta and the director, Carlo Paoli, are still today at the helm of Tenuta San Guido. They have just released the 2018 vintage on the UK market, as Liv-Ex reported, marking the arrival of harvest number 50 of this outstanding wine. Over the years, it has also become a separate denomination, Bolgheri Sassicaia, a unique case in Italy.

It is one of the most loved and sought after wines in the world, as well as the most quoted wine by Italian and International critics. It became a legend, thanks to such legendary vintages as 1985, which Robert Parker, the most influential wine critic of all time, as he told WineNews, has defined, “the wine that I have absolutely liked the most in my 37-year career”. Even more recent vintages have been outstanding, such as 2015, number 1 on the “Top 100” by “Wine Spectator”, one of the most awaited and followed rankings in the world; or the 2016 vintage, judged 100/100 points by “The Wine Advocate”, founded by Robert Parker, and whose correspondent in Italy is Monica Larner.
To say that this Bolgheri wine is one of the brightest and most celebrated examples of Italy’s wine potential might be redundant, or even obvious. However, at the end of the 1960s, the Incisa della Rocchetta family invented, in one fell swoop, a new way of thinking and making wine in Italy, a territory (the legislator had to give them their own DOC, practically tailor-made), and a term of comparison with the big global names for the entire National wine movement. Today, the recipe seems simple, even banal, but if we think about those years, it was no more than revolutionary. They experimented with the top Bordeaux varieties (“after all, they were my father Mari’s favorite wines”, Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta fondly recalls), they used small wood barrels, and then, the sensational 1978 tasting that the British magazine Decanter organized, which established the 1972 vintage of Sassicaia (in its fourth official release) as the best Cabernet in the world. These were the first steps to building the legend, which has such great strength as to keep its appeal absolutely intact, and makes essentially everyone totally agree - the occasional visitor, the wine world, the critics, as well as the super enthusiasts in the sector.

There are very few “universal” wines that have celebrated the milestone of 50 harvests on the market (from 1948 to 1967 it was produced strictly for private use by the family, and was drunk only at Tenuta San Guido). It has not only maintained all of its brilliance and its innovative range, but it has acquired the authority everyone acknowledges and the qualitative constancy over the years, which is the prerogative of very few wines in the world.

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