After almost 30 years of experimentation and solid work the Marquis decided to release Sassicaia´s 1968 vintage to the open market using his cousin´s, Antinori´s distribution network in the early 1970s, with instant sensation. At a Decanter tasting of Cabernet wines in London, 1978, Sassicaia from vintage 1972 beat all the other 33 wines of France and California, and since then Sassicaia has been one of the leading wines in the world and in great demand among wine collectors and investors. The marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta passed away in 1983. His son, Marquis Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, now oversees all estate operations.
Sassicaia means “the place of many stones,” and refers to the region’s gravel soil. The original vineyards have a southwest exposure with extensive sun and maritime breezes that create robust vegetation. The grapes were handpicked, destemmed and crushed before fermenting with natural yeasts for 15 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged in French oak barriques (40% new) for 24 months, then refined for 6 months in bottle before release.
The weather was quite good in 1971, with average temperatures being in the norm. There was scarce rainfall in the summer.
Wine making: The fermentation took place in open Slavonian oak barrels of 20 hl. Maceration lasted seven days and treading was done numerous times as the grapes were rich in
Ageing: The wine was aged for a year and a half in new Slavonian oak Barriques, as well as
Barriques that had been used once before.
Tasting notes: The wine is very rich and very aromatic, with polymerized tannins that are wellbalanced. It is definitely a great wine. (from the 1970’s)
Sassicaia – Tenuta San Guido
As a student in Pisa during the 1920's, the Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamed of creating a "noble" wine. Like most of Italian aristocracy at the time, his taste in wine ran strongly to fine Bordeaux. After settling with his wife, Clarice, into their Tuscan estate at Tenuta San Guido on the Mediterranean Coast, he experimented with several French grape varieties and concluded, “the bouquet I was looking for” was found in the Cabernet.
A wine that had Cabernet Sauvignon as its primary component represented a radical shift from the traditional Tuscan and Piedmontese varietals of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. No one had ever considered making a wine crafted along Bordeaux lines on Italian soil, much less in a region not yet established viticulturally.
However, accustomed to the light, local wines, consumers did not respond well to the first vintages of Sassicaia. Wines made from the more complex Cabernet Sauvignon grapes take more time to mature and develop. Subsequently, from 1948 to 1960, Sassicaia was consumed only at the estate.
Each year, a small number of cases were laid down in the cellars of Castiglioncello. The Marquis discovered that as the years went by, however, the wine greatly improved. As is often the case with wines of great pedigree, those things originally considered defects turned into virtues over time. Soon, friends and relatives were urging him to pursue his passion and to perfect his revolutionary style of winemaking.
In 1965, he planted two more vineyards comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Eventually, all of the wine produced on the estate came to be known by the name of Sassicaia.
The 1968 vintage of Sassicaia was the first to be offered on the open market, and it was as well received as the Premier Crus from Bordeaux.
The Marquis’ use of Cabernet grapes and his implementation of the barriques aging process soon spread throughout Italy. Sassicaia was the first Italian wine to successfully establish itself abroad, and is almost universally recognized as the father of the new Italian wine family or simply the Super Tuscan Pioneer. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta’s planting is now considered the birthplace of Italian Cabernet.
The marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta passed away in 1983. His son, Marquis Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, now oversees all estate operations.