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.
The climate for the 2012 vintage was rather special. Autumn and Winter were long and cold, to the point that at the end of January the Bolgheri hills were covered with snow. Bolgheri experienced a cold, yet rainless fall and winter, which was not the case for other parts of Tuscany. Cold temperatures were favorable for the halting of the vegetative growth and the natural elimination of some pests of the vine. The spring started with a slight delay, causing the vines to bud 10-15 days later than the seasonal average. From the beginning of May, however, the temperatures rose and accelerated the arrival of summer.
June rainfall partially reconstituted the water reserves of the soil. The summer was very hot, with sunny days and temperatures above the seasonal average. Although some have likened the summer of 2012 to that of 2003, the difference lies in the considerable fluctuations in temperature between night and day which prevented water stress in plants in 2012. During the fruit set period, strong sea winds were partially responsible for a production loss of about 10% . The summer was long, with very high daytime temperatures requiring an early harvest of the Merlot as well as part of the Cabernet.
Harvest /The hand picking of the grapes began in early September with Cabernet Franc since they were the first to reach an excellent phenolic ripeness. The Cabernet Sauvignon was next between the first 10 days of September until the first days of October ending with the historical vineyard on the heights of Castiglioncello di Bolgheri. The harvest was perfect with healthy grapes, a regular veraison and no millerandage (irregulargrowth of the berries)
A very gentle crushing and de-stemming of the grapes was followed by fermentation in temperature controlled steel vats (between 30° -31° C, without adding yeast ). The maceration on the skins lasted 9 to 12 days for both, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with frequent pumpovers of the musts and délestages. The secondary fermentation (Malolactic fermentation) also took place in steel vats.