Tenuta Guado al Tasso (stained label) 1999
Guado al Tasso, meaning literally "Badger's Ford", takes its name from a common sight at the estate of Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri, where it is produced. The vineyard is at an elevation between 44 and 58 metres (145 and 190 feet) above sea-level on stony, slightly calcareous soils. Tenuta Guado al Tasso is located 60 miles southwest of Florence, near the medieval village of Bolgheri, in an area known as the Maremma. The 900 hectares (2,223 acres) estate stretches up from the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the hills, and aside from extensive vineyards, also grows wheat, corn, sunflowers, tomatoes and olive trees. Guado al Tasso was first produced in 1990. All the vintages have been produced in limited quantities.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Syrah and other red grape varieties.
The Guado al Tasso Estate is located in the prestigious Bolgheri DOC, part of the Tuscan coastal area of Maremma, known for its untamed landscape and unspoiled beauty. Just 60 miles southwest of Florence, it sits on a magnificent plain in the heart of the Bolgheri amphitheater, a natural phenomenon created by hills that embrace the sea and produce a mild and temperate microclimate. Blessed with ample sunshine and constant breezes that take the edge off the summer heat and winter cold, Guado al Tasso is the ideal environment for cultivating healthy vine growth and proper ripening of the estate’s grapes. Inherited from Carlotta della Gherardesca, and revolutionized by Niccoló Antinori, the mother and father of Piero Antinori, Guado al Tasso is a reference point property in the life and history of the family. Here the challenge is to create wines of absolute excellence, always representative of the Bolgheri history, culture, and winemaking traditions.
An outstanding wine region made famous by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines for his own consumption in 1940s on his San Guido estate, and called the resulting wine, Sassicaia. Today the region’s Tuscan reds are based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which can be made as single varietal wines or blends. The local Sangiovese can make up no more than 50% of the blends. Today Sassicaia has its own DOC designation within the Bogheri DOC appellation.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.