This morning marks the release of one of the most eagerly awaited wines of the year, the stunning Sassicaia, from the stellar 2015 vintage. The 2015 vintage, which is already being viewed as potentially one of the greatest in the history of Tuscany, saw exceptionally dry and hot weather during the summer resulting in concentrated ripe berries. The wines have been met with huge excitement and are already reminiscent of the 2010 vintage; powerful, balanced, nuanced, exceptional! Sassicaia 2015 has already been awarded the joint highest ever score from James Suckling, with 98 points, matching the 2013 and besting the 2010. Monica Larner, of the Wine Advocate, has seemingly had an aberration awarding it 91-93 points and marking Sassicaia 2010 down to 91 points from 96. We can expect a stunning score from Antonio Galloni and the world’s other leading critics. We are delighted to be able to offer it today at £565 per case of six, which is exceptional value in a truly great vintage.
Sassicaia perennially sells out on release, thereon immediately trading at a premium on the secondary market. The average secondary market trading price of Sassicaia after one year of release across the last 10 releases is 10%. The same 10 vintages have then displayed a compound annual growth rate of 10% thereafter. Sassicaia is therefore one of the most collectible and sought-after wines in the world. The average price of a case of six Sassicaia between five to 10 years is £905, from 10 to 15 £1,120. The 1985 vintage trades at £12,000 per case of six. As can be seen from the table below, Sassicaia displays a superb vintage premium and the 2015 will be massively oversubscribed globally.
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.
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.
In addition, we are very pleased to be able to offer their second wine, Guidalberto, which releases a year ahead of Sassicaia. As such today’s release is the exceptional 2016, which has not been scored yet. The 2016 vintage in Tuscany, which we will also be covering this year, is also a very good vintage, although the wines are already showing opulent, ripe and seductive tendencies and production is down as much as a fifth. 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.
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2015, 6×75 – £565 IB
98 Points, James Suckling
‘Love the aromas to this young red with blackcurrants, sage, cinnamon and five-spice character. Changes all the time. Full-bodied, dense and powerful with a ripe and rich tannin backbone that gives form and beauty to the ripe and beautiful fruit. Tight and very long. Approachable now but will reward more in five to six years. A classic Sassicaia.’
91-93 Points, Monica Larner
‘Tasted from barrel as an unfinished wine, the 2015 Bolgheri Sassicaia is distinguished by the dark and saturated nature of its appearance. That deep, black-purple color is shared by many of the best wines of this warm vintage. Freezing temperatures in March got the growing season off to a slow start, but the summer heat hit in full by June. Those high temperatures tapered off at the end of August with cooling rains, but rose again at harvest time. The Cabernet harvest started on September 10. In the winery, fermentations were slow to start and required special attention, especially in terms of temperature control. The results are vinous and thick, with bright and immediate blackberry and pungent blueberry primary aromas. Only at the very beginning of its secondary aromatic development, this wine is scheduled to be released in July 2018.’
Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2016, 6×75 – £120 IB
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