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April 02, 2015

Sassicaia 2012

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Sassicaia is one of the most popular and prestigious releases of the year and we expect to sell out quickly. James Suckling tasted the 2012 this month, scoring it a preliminary 95 points and calling it ‘the best Sassicaia since 2009.’ Although Sassicaia 2012 is as yet un-rated by Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate or Antonio Galloni, the latter has said of the vintage, “Although most of the top wines haven’t been released yet, the 2012s I have tasted from barrel and bottle are hugely promising. The best wines are nothing short of exceptional.” Sassicaia is one of the most famous and revered Super Tuscans, so we can expect something special from Galloni.

Sassicaia has become one of the most sought after wines the world over and in 2012 the harvest has provided a high quality, low production vintage. We tasted it last month and were impressed, the 2012 is certainly on par with the 2009, although embodying more freshness and balance, characteristics that can be attributed to the cool nights experienced in the growing season. The blend in 2012 is the archetypal 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc and is one of the finest vintages of the last five years.

The 2012 vintage brought rare snow to the hills of Bolgheri in January, slowing vineyard growth but also protecting the vines from blooming too early and being subject to spring frosts. While spring continued with cool weather, temperatures rose in May and the summer was warmer than average. Production, which averages 15,000 cases per year, was down 10% in 2012 due to strong sea winds. Still, the long, warm summer led to excellent ripening of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to produce an outstanding wine.

Our first release price is also extremely compelling; the price of Sassicaia rises quickly once the wine is released to market. Over the last five years the price of Sassicaia (taken from the last 10 released vintages) has risen over 100% and the market expects this trend to continue. We view Sassicaia as one of the best investments in fine wine benefiting from a superb vintage premium and a growing global cachet. The cases will be available in July/August when we receive them from the Estate.

A bit of history on Sassicaia
The Sassicaia Estate is situated near the Tuscan coast (Bolgheri) and has been owned by the Incisa family since 1800. It was Leopoldo Incisa’s writings on vines and wines that inspired his great grandson, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, to plant the Sassicaia vineyard on his wife’s estate, Tenuta San Guido. It is rumoured that he planted vines originally purchased from Chateau Lafite Rothschild. The first Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted on land in Tenuta San Guido in 1940 and all the wine produced for the next 20 years remained under the ownership of family and close friends. The 1968 wine was the first vintage to be produced commercially.

Terroir
The name Sassicaia comes from the Italian word for stone (sasso) and its meaning can be summed up as stony fields. The vines are protected from sea breezes by the Tenuta San Guido castle and the south-west facing hill they are planted on. There are three vineyards on the Estate: Castiglioncello – the original plot of land (1.5 hectares), Di Sotto (13 hectares) boasting clay soil and 40 year old vines and the Aianova (16 hectares) which provides well drained soils of a similar age. Each plot is crushed and fermented separately in steel tanks at 30 degrees for around two weeks and then blended before ageing in oak. Historically they were aged in 60% French and 40% Slovenian oak. Today, however, all barrels are French, 30-40% new oak and aged for 24 months.

The Estate insists that it is the Cabernet Franc that is able to achieve full ripeness year on year and provides that unique finesse and famous longevity. In their youth the wines are ripe, rich, opulent and layered with black fruits, cherries, spices, minerals, herbs, new leather, caramel, smoke and toast. With age; sweet fruit, tobacco, cedar, porcini mushrooms, liquorice, flowers, maintaining a rich body with delicate tannin and a wonderful balance of masculinity and femininity. Suckling describes the 2012 as full-bodied, ultra-refined with an exquisite finish. This is a Sassicaia to own.

Sassicaia 2012 6×75 – £545 IB or £668.76 including duty and VAT
James Suckling 95 Points, tasted March 5th, 2015
‘Lots of lavender, minerals and black currants on the nose. Turns to black berries. Full body, ultra-refined tannins and an exquisite finish. This is all about delicacy, finesse and grace. Yet there is a solid core of ripe tannins giving it backbone and outstanding form. Better in 2017 but so delicious already. A wonderful surprise.’

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