Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2009
Other Red Blends from Tuscany, Italy
Intense, concentrated and deep ruby-colored, this wine offers elegant, complex aromas of red fruit. In the mouth it is rich and dense, yet harmonious, with sweet, balanced tannins. The wine has a long finish with a depth and structure that ensure its extraordinary longevity.
Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc
James Suckling - "This is fantastic. Intense and super long on the palate. It's insanely complex yet subtle with so much going on, with a beautiful balance and tension. It is full and powerful with a big juicy character that goes on for minutes. Muscular yet covered with pretty fruit. Elegance with force. Hard not to drink."
Decanter - "Sweetly spice, long, terrific richness and natural sweetness, with plenty of puppy fat, yet vibrant. One of the three greatest Sassicaias ever."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright full ruby. Pure, perfumed aromas of blackberry, cassis, lead pencil, violet and minerals, complicated by a superripe note of crushed raspberry. Extremely primary and pure, offering sharply defined cassis, violet and mineral flavors of great class. The perfectly integrated acidity and a vibrant floral character from the cabernet franc give the middle palate terrific lift. Though very ripe in its flavor profile, this wine conveys a rare lightness of touch that is typical of Sassicaia but rare for this vintage on the Tuscan Coast. Finishes with noble tannins and outstanding palate-staining length. For all its creamy power and charm, I really like this wine's balance and the subtle delivery of its complex flavors. I have tasted every vintage of Sassicaia on countless occasions and, other than the legendary 1985, I have no doubt that this is one of the two or three best Sassicaias at a similar stage of development. Though the 2009 won't surpass the once-in-a-lifetime 1985, it is starting out its life in bottle with almost the same perfectly balanced, opulent creamy texture and depth of that incredible wine, which I remember tasting both in Rome and in Tuscany immediately upon release. In fact, that wine was so good that even though I was still a university student (and thus on a student budget), it was the first time in my life I ever bought a full case. If I were a university student today, I'd do the same with the 2009, even though the price of Sassicaia is far higher today. There's profound potential here, but younger wine writers and consumers who weren't seriously involved in tasting back in the '80s may well be surprised by this wine's voluptuous, atypically opulent texture and thus miss its sheer greatness.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Sassicaia is unusually big, rich and opulent. Layers of fruit saturate the palate as the 2009 explodes from the glass with a heady melange of dark berries, plums, menthol, licorice and new leather. This is an especially racy Sassicaia. Readers who enjoy the classicism of Sassicaia are likely to find the 2009 too rich, especially at this early stage. The wine needs at least a few years in bottle to drop some of its baby fat. Despite its huge fruit, the 2009 is also pretty closed down and not anywhere close to being ready to show off its pedigree. Sassicaia is arguably Italy's most famous wine, so it's always great when it lives up to its reputation. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039."
Wine Spectator - "A tightly knit, dense red, full of black currant, cherry, herb and spice flavors. The tannins are aggressive now, but this is long and detailed, with an herb and spice aftertaste. A classy wine. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2028."
Wine & Spirits - "From the famed estate in Bolgheri, where the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rochetta first planted cabernet sauvignon in the 1940s, this is a grand vintage of Sassacaia that will need years to fully evolve. Plentiful spring rains prepared the vines for the hot summer of 2009, sustaining them with plenty of moisture in the stony, limestone-inflected soils. A portion of cabernet franc (15 percent) emphasizes the fresh tobacco and green herb scents in the blend, while the black olive flavors of young cabernet sauvignon fill out a plush, rich texture. This is silken in the middle, with acidity keeping it bright even as oak builds up in the finish. Cellar this for ten years or more to capture the vineyard’s fullest expression."
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Tenuta San Guido Winery
The Tenuta San Guido is a 7,500-acre estate located in the province of Livorno on the western coastal outskirts of Tuscany near the village of Bolgheri. Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta acquired it through his marriage to Clarice della Gherardesca in 1940.
The legacy of Sassicaia began 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".
With the radical changes in the D.O.C. system of regulations as of the 1994 vintage, Sassicaia's extraordinary reputation was acknowledged through the Italian government's granting the wine its own appellation.
Sassicaia is today considered to be the new plus ultra of Italy's great red wines for its consistent excellence and its intuitive spirit. Acclaimed by the wine world's most respected voices, Sassicaia remains the legacy of its creator, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, and his son, Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta. View all Tenuta San Guido Wines
About TuscanyView a map of Tuscany wineries (TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.