The legacy of Sassicaia begins in 1944, when Mario Incisa acquired a number of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc vine cuttings and planted them on a sloping hillside of the San Guido estate, called Castiglioncello after the 11th-century castle at the vineyard's upper edge. This tiny, 3.75-acre vineyard stood alone until 1965, when a second Cabernet vineyard was planted with cuttings from the Castiglioncello parcel; the gravelly, 30-acre plot would give the wine its name: Sassicaia, "the place of many stones". This and a slightly more elevated microclimate of 20 acres, called Aianova, were planted in phases between 1965 and 1985, bringing plantings to the present extent of 90 acres in vines averaging 20 to 25 years of age.
Since the late 1960s, Sassicaia has represented a standard of production that is without compromise. The grapes are hand picked, destemmed, crushed and fermentation is set off by natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. For the first week, pumping over of the must takes place three times daily; during the second week, this is reduced to once daily until the end of the 14-day fermentation period. The wine is pressed from the skins and undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Aging takes place in 225-litre Allier and Tronçais oak barriques, approximately 30 percent of which are new, for 18 to 22 months depending on vintage.
Sassicaia is a unique interpretation of the Cabernet variety, a wine of great breadth, complexity and longevity. The intense blackberry and cassis aromas, offset by notes of smoke and spice, are confirmed on a palate of lush concentration underscored by firm, ripe tannins carrying into a long, elegant finish.
"Dark berry fruit and exotic spice scents fill the high-toned penetrating nose...smooth tannins frame the very long finish, leaving one with the impression of persistence and balance."
-International Wine Cellar