Quite simply in our opinion, Guidalberto is the best red wine under £25 (VAT and duty paid) in Italy, likely also the world. Guidalberto’s grapes are grown in the vineyards of Sassicaia, by the winemakers of Sassicaia and it embodies Sassicaia’s majesty. In fact in most vintages about 20% of the wine consists of declassified barrels of Sassicaia.
Guidalberto costs less than a quarter of the price of its elder brother Sassicaia and will provide immense pleasure as the best ‘drinking wine’ money can buy. Moreover, Guidalberto 2011 has a Points Over Price (POP) score/ratio of 16.9, making it one of the lowest we have seen in any leading wine. We have tasted every vintage since 2006 and each wine is precise, powerfully aromatic with wonderful fruit density, opulence yet despite this command it remains elegant and balanced. Guidalberto 2011 is a show stopper, singing of dark fruit, plum, bitter chocolate, smoke, tar and liquorice. The 2006 is already displaying leather, meat, cedar and mocha and the 2011 has all this to look forward to and will improve for 15 years in bottle. That said it is drinking beautifully now, the 2011 Guidalberto is a truly superb Bordeaux blend.
This week we released Tignanello 2011, which will be followed by the official release of Sassicaia 2011 in the first days of spring. The news and early reports from Italy suggest a very good or possible great vintage. This is affirmed by Guidalberto, which received its highest ever score from Antonio Galloni with 93 points in 2011.
Modern innovations in winemaking are as much to do with good practice and commitment to quality as they are technology. For example, almost all leading chateaux in Bordeaux produce second wines and so do the leading Super Tuscans. Second wines make sense commercially; they developed naturally out of the desire of estates to produce a first wine that perennially pushes the envelope of quality. Consequently, second wines are made from a selection of vines that did not make it into the first; however, they are from the same vineyards and of the highest quality. Generally speaking they can be drunk a little younger, although they age wonderfully and as Galloni rightly posits, the current second wines are better than some of the older vintages of the first.
Guidalberto and Sassicaia
Tenuta San Guido release their second wine Guidalberto a year before Sassicaia. The name Guidalberto, introduced in 2000, was inspired by the current proprietor’s great great great grandfather Guidalberto della Gheradesca. The wine was created for two reasons; the Estates desire to accomplish something with Merlot (a grape that they do not use in Sassicaia) and to create a wine which could be enjoyed younger than their ‘veteran Sassicaia’.
Guidalberto is aged for 15 months in French oak barriques, with a small element of American oak and then three months in bottle before being released onto the market. Guidalberto’s blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Sassicaia’s is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc but aged longer for 24 months in French barrique and six months in bottle.
Antonio Galloni, 93 points
Mocha, espresso, plums and cloves form a highly expressive mosaic of aromas and flavors in the 2011 Guidalberto. Wonderfully open and seductive, the 2011 captures the essence of Bolgheri in a style that is resonant and super sensual. Silky tannins make the 2011 impossible to resist today. San Guido hit it out of the park with the 2011 Guidalberto. Drink 2015 – 2023
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