Tenuta San Guido, Tuscan estate which created Sassicaia, a wine with its own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC in Castagneto Carducci on the Tuscan coast.

Owner | Marchese Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta (son of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, of which more below).

History | Count Guido Alberto della Gherardesca, in the first half of the 1800s, brought out a new wine culture with the hiring of winemaking experts including Giuseppe Mazzanti in Bolgheri. In 1816 the first experimental vineyards were built at Capanne di Castiglioncello, where later the first vineyard of the Sassicaia wine was born, and in the funds of Castelluccio. The viticultural choices were made not only on the basis of the terroir but above all on the basis of the French wine culture with particular attention to the vinification methods and the vines used in France: to confirm this the choices made by Count Guido Alberto and Mazzanti were precisely addressed on French vines including Gamay, Cabernet and Syrah.

The destruction of the vineyards due to the phylloxera attack of the early 1900s forced them to rethink the overall structure of the vineyard and the type of vine most suitable for the territory. After an interlocutory period, between the two wars, the intuitions of the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, a Piemontese nobleman who married a Tuscan noblewoman of the Della Gherardesca family. Her huge family estate comprised many thousands of hectares of coastland, land which since being drained was considered good for horses and cattle, but not for humans or vines (Nicolas Belfrage, 2001, p392). The Marchese loved red Bordeaux (‘claret’) and in the 1940s began planting a Bordeaux-style vineyard.

For these plants, born as early as 1944, a high hill location with eastern exposure was chosen at the beginning, as it was believed that the influence of the sea was negative for the quality of the wines. It was soon understood that in fact the best soils were those of the foothills and of the plain and that the marine climate did nothing but bring beneficial effects on the ripening of the grapes.

In the 1960s, and having learnt that the wine needed plenty of time in bottle, Marchese Mario asked for help from Piero Antinori, whose Della Gherardesca mother was sister to Mario’s wife. From 1968, via Piero Antinori, Marchese Mario hired Giacomo Tachis and Emile Peynaud as consultant.

In 1978,  Decanter magazine published a comparative tasting of Cabernet from around the world and the 1972 vintage of Sassicaia took first place. Subsequently the 1985 vintage of Sassicaia competes, in a tasting of the Grand Jury Européen, with the Grands Crus of Bordeaux and obtains the maximum recognition.

Red wines

IGT Toscana Rosso, Guidalberto | 2002 Debut vintage. This came from the property of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta’s cousins, the Zileri, also De Gherardesca descendants, who had vineyards with Merlot and both Cabernets. ‘It is made in a different winery to Sassicaia,’ (Nicolas Belfrage, 2001, p392). 

IGT Toscana Rosso, Le Difese

Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, Sassicaia

Bibliography

Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Brunello to Zibibbo: The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (London, 2001).

Contact

Tenuta San Guido

Località Capanne, 27

I-57022 Bolgheri (LI – Livorno), Italy

Tel+39 0565.762003

www.sassicaia.com

GPS Coordinates: 43.231657, 10.599563