2020 Tenuta San Guido Le Difese
In the 1920s, as a student in Pisa, Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta already dreamed of creating a 'noble' wine. Like most Italian aristocrats of the time, he had a pronounced fondness for fine Bordeaux wines. After taking up residence in their estate in Tenuta San Guido on the Mediterranean coast with his wife, Clarice, he experimented with different French grape varieties. His conclusion was straightforward: 'the bouquet I was looking for', I found in the Cabernet. A wine with Cabernet Sauvignon as the main component marked a radical reversal of the traditional Tuscan and Piedmontese Sangiovese and Nebbiolo varieties. No one had ever considered making a wine according to the Bordeaux approach on Italian soil, and certainly not in an area that has (until now) had no foothold in the wine universe.
Apart from the bouquet of the Cabernet Sauvignon, the decision to plant the vine variety at Tenuta San Guido was influenced by the strong similarities between the Tuscan village and the Graves region of Bordeaux. 'Graves' is the French word for 'gravel'. Sassicaia, meaning 'stone-strewn ground' in Tuscan dialect, thus owes its name to the soil conditions of Tenuta San Guido. Every year a small number of caskets were kept in the cellars of Castiglioncello. The Marquis discovered that as the years passed, the quality of the wine improved rapidly. As is often the case with wines of great provenance, what was initially considered a defect turns out to be one of the great qualities with the passage of time. Soon his friends and relatives urged him to persevere in his passion and perfect this revolutionary style of winemaking. In 1965 he planted two additional vineyards with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Today Sassicaia is known as one of the most prominent red wines in all of Italy. Together with Ornellaia from Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, it is the most sought after wine in Tuscany! A salient detail is the fact that some of the vineyards of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia come from Tenuta San Guido. Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, once founded by Ludovico Antinori (the brother of Piero Antinori and both cousin of Mario Incisa della Rocchetta), bought its first vineyards from the Marquis (!) Now world famous, Tenuta San Guido is now part of the group 'Primum Familiae Vini', which stands for 'the best wine families'. Other members include Bodegas y Viñedos Vega-Sicilia, Antinori, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Perrin & Fils of Château de Beaucastel.
Tenuta San Guido's Le Difese is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. The vineyards of Le Difese are located in the Maremma, near between Cecina and Bolgheri, near the Mediterranean Sea. Tehuta San Guido has made the town of Bolgheri so famous. The grapes are picked by hand and carefully sorted. After the harvest, the first fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats, with the grape skins remaining in the must. The wine is aged in these stainless steel vats for a period of 12 months. The wine then matures further in French and American oak barriques for a period of 12 months, before being bottled. The wine has a beautiful garnet-red color and is medium bodied. The Le Difese has nice notes of blueberries and blackberry followed by cherries and cranberry. The Le Difese (Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese) is a smooth and modern wine with beautiful fruit scents of blueberries and cherries supported by Mediterranean herbs. This medium bodied wine has a good balance between fruit and acidity and is silky smooth with a long aftertaste/sense of freshness which keeps the wine lively in the mouth and is gastronomically a great wine with pasta dishes or a good (homemade) pizza.
Tenuta San Guido was founded in the 1940s by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta. The marchese was inspired by the wines of Bordeaux, especially those made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. In 1944 he planted these varieties in the Bolgheri, an area not traditionally associated with wine production at the time.
Terroir of Tenuta San Guido
The estate is located in Maremma on the Tuscan coast. The Tyrrhenian Sea provides a unique microclimate that is favorable for grape growing. Tenuta San Guido covers over 2,500 hectares, of which approximately 90 hectares (approximately 222 hectares) are devoted to vineyards. The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and other varieties. The soil of Tenuta San Guido, located between 60 and 400 meters above sea level, is partly clayey with diverse morphological characteristics, including limestone-rich areas with Alberese, Gabbro and stone. The climate is unique, with hills from Bibbona to Castagneto offering protection from northeasterly winds. In summer the sea cools the vineyards, creating a microclimate that is characteristic of Tenuta San Guido.
Sassicaia is the "flagship" of Tenuta San Guido and is considered the first Super Tuscan. It gained international fame and played a crucial role in defining Italian wines. The first vintage Sassicaia was produced in 1968, but was initially intended for private consumption. It wasn't until 1978 that Sassicaia was released commercially. Sassicaia is made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, with a small percentage of Cabernet Franc. The name "Sassicaia" comes from the Italian word "sassi", which means stones, as the vineyards are characterized by stony soils. The wine is known for its elegance, complexity and storage potential. It often receives high scores from critics and is highly sought after by collectors. Sassicaia played a crucial role in the recognition and elevation of Italian wines.
Production of Tenuta San Guido
In winemaking at Tenuta San Guido, the emphasis is on quality and traditional techniques. The estate strives to express the unique terroir of the Bolgheri region in its wines. Sassicaia is largely Cabernet Sauvignon with a smaller percentage of Cabernet Franc. Sassicaia is known for its elegance, complexity and potential. Sassicaia production varies from harvest year to harvest year, depending on factors such as weather conditions and quality. The exact number of bottles produced annually may fluctuate and specific production figures may not be readily available. Tenuta San Guido also produces other wines such as the Guidalberto, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Guidalberto is the estate's second wine and offers a more accessible and earlier drinking style than the Sassicaia. Finally, we have the Le Difese, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Le Difese is a more accessible and fruity wine, designed for earlier consumption.
Tenuta San Guido's olive oil?
In addition to its wines, Tenuta San Guido is known for the production of high-quality olive oil. The estate is located in Maremma (Tuscany) and many wineries in the region often have olive groves next to vineyards. They probably grow traditional Tuscan olive varieties such as Frantoio, Leccino and Moraiolo. The characteristics of the region's soil and climate, which contribute to the unique terroir of their wines, can also influence the flavor profile of their olive oil. The estate probably uses traditional and careful methods in the cultivation and harvesting of olives. The extraction process, usually carried out by cold pressing, is designed to preserve the quality and flavor of the olives. Like their approach to wine production, olive oil production can be limited, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.
|Type of Wine||Red|
|Winery||Tenuta San Guido|
|Grape||Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese|
|Drinking as of||2022|
|James Suckling rating||92|
|Tasting Profiles||Dry, Aged on wood, Powerful, Red fruit|
|Drink moments||Met vrienden, Open haard, Romantisch|