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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Edwards

The Story of... Sassicaia

Updated: Feb 17, 2023


Sassicaia. The name falls from the lips of wine connoisseurs with all the hushed reverence once reserved for the finest wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines at Tenuta San Guido in 1944, to produce a ‘Bordeaux’ wine solely for his own consumption. It remained this way for some time, the first commercial vintage of Sassicaia was released in 1982 to international acclaim. However, it was with the release of the perfect, “100 point” 1985 vintage that Sassicaia’s reputation (and it’s price) soared.

Where is Sassicaia made?

Sassicaia is made in the Bolgheri DOC of Maremma, on the Tuscan coast. It can be reached by car from Siena or Florence in around 1 hour 30 minutes. Because of its proximity to the sea, Bolgheri has a maritime climate that helps moderate the intense heat of the Tuscan sun. Bolgheri is also characterised by banks of gravel in the area, reminiscent of the vineyards of Bordeaux, and said to be where Mario Incisa della Rocchetta’s inspiration for his own ‘Bordeaux’ style wine first germinated.

Who owns Sassicaia?

Sassicaia is made at the Tenuta San Guido estate, which has been owned by the della Gherardesca family on and off since before the 1400s. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta married Clarice della Gherardesca in 1930 and the estate became Mario’s hobby farm for horse breeding (he was a co-owner of the famous racehorse Ribot) and viticulture. To this day, the estate is owned and managed by the della Rocchetta family.

What grape is Sassicaia?

Sassicaia is a ‘Bordeaux blend’, comprised primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon (80% or more usually) and Cabernet Franc.

What does Sassicaia mean?

Sassicaia takes its name from the gravel banks that inspired Mario Incisa, literally meaning ‘place with a lot of rocks’, from the Italian word for rock ‘sasso’.

What are Sassicaia's best years?

1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996

1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006

2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016

2017, 2018

Sassicaia - when to drink?

Sassicaia is made in the mould of the incredibly age-worthy red wines of Bordeaux and has the ability to age and improve for at least 18 to 30 years. In the best vintages, its longevity is even greater if well cellared and carefully maintained.

What is a Super-Tuscan?

A ‘Super-Tuscan’ is a term given to wines made in Tuscany from non-native grapes. Sassicaia is often hailed as the original Super-Tuscan. Because the use of non-native grapes were prohibited by Tuscan wine law, the original Super-Tuscans were released as humble Vino de Tavola - table wines. Subsequently, their own DOC area, Bolgheri, has been created to celebrate the quality of individuality of the wines now produced on the Tuscan coast.

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