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November 19, 2018
Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 2015 Named Number 1 Wine of 2018
Sassicaia, like many of the best things in life, began as an experiment, a passion project that came to fruition thanks to good fortune and hard work.
The wine began in the 1940s as a homemade red crafted by a curious Renaissance man trying to emulate Bordeaux on his Bolgheri estate near the Tuscan coast. It became the prototype of the nascent Bolgheri region, inspiring many others while establishing itself as one of the great wines of Tuscany and Italy. And now, in 2018, 50 years after the wine’s first commercial vintage, Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 2015 is Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year.
Sassicaia is an iconic wine, as blue-chip as first-growth Bordeaux, grand cru Burgundy or Napa Valley cult Cabernet. Although its character is austere in comparison to other Bordeaux-style blends from Bolgheri, it ages magnificently, as a tasting of the 1985 vintage at the estate late last year proved. In a stellar vintage like 2015, Sassicaia has everything: rich and concentrated black currant, blackberry, violet, mineral and spice flavors allied to a dense structure; vibrant acidity that drives the long aftertaste; and beautifully integrated oak, providing impeccable balance.
But the Sassicaia 2015 is very different from the early vintages made by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, the wine’s creator. Those wines were produced from Cabernet Franc cuttings taken near Pisa and planted high on an inland hillside, near Castiglioncello. Though the original vineyard still exists, the bulk of Sassicaia’s vineyard parcels today are located at lower elevations.