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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.
Definitely a good vintage. The mild and early winter was followed at the end of January by some rainy cold days. Spring began late and some frosts in April helped to control the budding and created the natural conditions of lower production. In May the temperatures raised gradually alternating with mild but rainy days. Summer began in early June with high temperatures though below seasonal average accompanied by well timed sporadic precipitations. This offered refreshment and water supply to the vineyards. Summer continued until the harvest with optimal weather conditions, with a good temperature range between day and night that helped the extraction of aromatic Cabernet. As always the grapes are hand-picked and the harvest began in the first days of September with the Cabernet Franc that first reached the optimal phenolic maturation.
Likewise Cabernet Sauvignon was picked from early September until about a month later. The last grapes to be harvested came from the vineyards of Castiglioncello di Bolgheri situated at about 400 meters above sea level. The grapes reached perfect maturation, that combined with the absence of millerandage allowed a perfect performance of all harvesting operations. A very gentle crushing and de-stemming of the grapes was followed by fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats (between 86° - 88° F with no addition of artificial yeasts). 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.