Sometimes there are evenings where the food and wine are simply perfect, both on their own and especially when paired together. Those nights are unforgettable.
One such evening I was fortunate enough to participate in was a special Sassicaia dinner at Vivere restaurant at the Italian Village in Chicago. The Italian Village is celebrating its 92nd year in Chicago with the same family ownership, which is a remarkable fact, as you’d be hard pressed to find a similar situation in Italy. So what better place to host a dinner with eight different vintages of Sassicaia, conducted by Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, a member of the family that owns Tenuta San Guido, where this legendary Tuscan wine is produced.
Sassicaia, for anyone who has been living under a rock for the past 4o or 50 years, is one of the world’s most famous wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc blend from the Bolgheri district of western Tuscany. It was initially produced in the mid 1940s by Mario Incisa della Rocchetta as a special wine for his friends. The wine was well liked, and he ultimately decided to produce the wine for the commercial market, beginning with the 1968 vintage, a wine that has become legendary. In the 50 subsequent years, Sassicaia has become known as one of the most famous wines in all the world.
Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta spoke about the estate and the specific vintages, pointing out the differences between the cool and warm vintages and how the wines vary in style according to the climate from a particular year. No matter the vintage, the wines have all aged beautifully, which should be especially true for the latest two releases, the 2015 (named the wine of the year in 2018 by the Wine Spectator) and the 2016, which is arguably an even better wine.
Before the dinner, I sat down with Priscilla for a brief interview about her duties for Tenuta San Guido as well as her thoughts about Sassicaia. Noting that she has officially been involved with the winery since 2012, she remarked, “My role for the last few years is what is called a ‘grand ambassador,’ but it’s more like representing the family and the company across the world in different markets, depending on where we operate. So I travel often. Traveling is a big part of my job.”
I also asked her a question I’m certain she had heard countless times – this is a wine made with French grapes in Tuscany. Is is indeed a Tuscan or Italian wine? “The fact that the grapes have a French name, doesn’t mean they can’t develop nicely in Italy,” she commented. “Surely in Bolgheri, grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and with some producers Petit Verdot, are developing well in this part of Tuscany because of the geographical position close to the sea.
Excerpt taken from: Forbes, Food & Drink
Author: Tom Hyland