Tenuta San Guido

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In the 1920s, as a student in Pisa, Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamed of creating a 'noble' wine. Like most Italian aristocrats of the time, he had a strong preference for fine Bordeaux wines. After moving into their domain in Tenuta San Guido on the Mediterranean Sea 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 the Cabernet Sauvignon as the main component meant a radical revolution of the traditional Tuscan and Piedmontese Sangiovese and Nebbiolo varieties. No one had ever considered preparing a wine according to the Bordeaux approach on Italian soil, and certainly not in an area that (so far) had no foothold within the wine universe.

Apart from the Cabernet Sauvignon bouquet, the decision to plant the vine variety on Tenuta San Guido was influenced by the strong similarities between the Tuscan village and the Graves region in Bordeaux. Graves is the French word for gravel. Sassicaia, which means 'stone-studded ground' in the Tuscan dialect, owes its name to the soil conditions of Tenuta San Guido. Every year, a small number of boxes were kept in the cellars of Castiglioncello. The Marquis discovered that as the years went by the quality of the wine improved rapidly. As is often the case with wines of great origin, what was initially regarded as a defect with the passage of time eventually turns out to be one of the great qualities. Soon his friends and family members urged him to persist in his passion and to further perfect this revolutionary style of winemaking. In 1965 he planted two additional vineyards with the Cabernet Sauvignon and the 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 striking detail is the fact that part 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 cousins of Mario Incisa della Rocchetta), bought his first vineyards from the Marquis (!) Meanwhile, 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 from Château de Beaucastel.