Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia (stained label) 1996 Front Label
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia (stained label) 1996 Front LabelTenuta San Guido Sassicaia (stained label) 1996  Front Bottle Shot

Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia (stained label) 1996

Bordeaux Red Blends
  • RP92
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750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Here's a little gem from Tenuta San Guido that has never been reviewed in Robert Parker Wine Advocate (except informally by me one year ago in a Hedonist's Gazette). I have consistently found the 1996 Bolgheri Sassicaia to be an impressive wine on the few occasions I have had to taste it. This is one of those rare underrated vintages that bring so much delight and surprise in an important retrospective such as this. As I recall from my informal tasting, this Sassicaia shows a heavy dose of Cabernet Sauvignon typicity but without the astringent medicinal tone or unripe greenness you might expect. Instead, it delivers a bright but balanced, tonic verve that is driven by the wine's natural acidity. I had previously paired this wine with an oversized bistecca alla fiorentina t-bone steak and the marriage was perfect. This was a difficult vintage in Bolgheri, but the results in the bottle suggest otherwise.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
A well-structured Sass, with plenty of blackberry and dried herb character. Full-bodied, with plenty of ripe tannins and a currant bush and herb finish. Give it time to develop.
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Tenuta San Guido

Tenuta San Guido

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Tenuta San Guido, Italy
Tenuta San Guido Winery Video

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.

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ARP134361_1996 Item# 134361

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