Hailed as the standard-bearer of Italian enology, the historic Tenuta San Guido estate is known for crafting Sassicaia, the world’s first Super Tuscan and an important contribution to Italy’s evolving reputation as a fine-wine producing nation in the mid-20th century. From the ambition of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta to plant Bordeaux varieties in Tuscany in the 1940s to the arrival of acclaimed consulting oenologist Giacomo Tachis to the introduction of two additional wines to the brand, Tenuta San Guido has vaulted from success to success.
Just as the Graves region of Bordeaux is named for its gravelly soil, so Sassicaia is an area of Bolgheri, in coastal Tuscany, named for its many stones. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta had enjoyed the fine wines of Bordeaux as a young man in the 1920s and dreamed of planting his own vineyard one day. This plan came to pass after 1930, when he married Marchesa Clarice della Gherardesca, whose dowry included the 7,500-acre estate of Tenuta San Guido that her family had owned for centuries, in the province of Livorno on the western outskirts of Tuscany, near the village of Bolgheri. Mario Incisa noticed a similarity between this land and the Bordeaux vineyards he was familiar with.
In 1944, Mario Incisa acquired a number of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vine cuttings from a vineyard near Pisa and planted them on a sloping hillside overlooking the San Guido estate, called Castiglioncello after the small, 11th-century castle of the same name, used as a hunting lodge, at the vineyard’s upper edge.