Sassicaia is one of the most popular and prestigious releases of the year and we are delighted to offer the 2011 for £545 and £1,090 respectively for 6×75 and 12×75 cases. The 2011 Tuscan vintage is already being spoken about as another truly great vintage, Jancis Robinson has declared that ‘quality is very promising’, although production is down by 15% on 2010.
The climate in 2011 in Bolgheri was truly exceptional, heralded as one of the best since 2000. The winter was cooler than normal, with temperatures below seasonal averages, notably so in November and January. Spring got underway early with mild temperatures and importantly, due to gradual and windless rainfall, the water supply was superb, resulting in near perfect vegetative growth among the vines. The summer was beneficially long and hot and the temperatures proceeded in line with seasonal averages, with the exception of July, which was warmer than normal. The vineyards in 2011 also experienced the benefit of elevated diurnal temperature changes and as always benefited from Sassicaia’s wonderful proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea and vineyard elevation. The result of all these factors meant the vines ripened evenly, allowing winemakers to harvest over a month beginning in September. Thus clusters arrived healthy, ripe with crisp berries yet not overly mature: this explains the superlative harmony of Sassicaia 2011, the feature we feel defines it.
We tasted Sassicaia 2011 for the first time last week and consider it superb. Sassicaia 2010 was marked for its elegance, while the 2009 has a striking ripeness and fleshy fruit. The moment one tastes the 2011 it entreats you to own it, for it embodies Sassicaia’s characteristic grace; in fact it is wonderfully balanced, combining fruit precision with unfolding aromas; it takes a few moments to divide these and fully realise its focus. In fact, Sassicaia 2011 requires a double take, begging one to ask the question, how can a wine made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon – the remainder is 15% Cabernet Franc – be this velvety, delicate and harmonised at such a young age?
“Sassicaia 2011 has a rich, dense ruby colour. The nose unravels with white pepper, rosemary, plum; prune and then blackberries, cassis and raspberries. It already displays a meatiness; cured duck and Bresaola, with hints of leather and a sweet tobacco reminiscent of the 2006 and much of the 2010’s minerality, with wet stone and wool. The nose is very precise yet the harmony is overwhelming. The palate has phenomenal integration, with fine tannins, a fresh acidity that provides structure, while the succulent fruit adds to the mouth feel. The finish is simply beautiful and goes on and on.” IG Wines
Sassicaia 2011 has not yet been tasted by the leading critics; however, Antonio Galloni has released scores for Ornellaia 2011, awarding it one of its highest ever scores, 97 points: Ornellaia’s vineyards neighbour is Sassicaia. Masseto 2011 has also been scored by Galloni receiving 94-96 points and the second wine of Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove 2011 received its highest score to date with 94 points, and in and of itself is truly exceptional. Galloni has also tasted Guidalberto 2011, which heralds from the same vineyards and also awarded it its highest ever score with 93 points. We have no hesitation in giving Sassicaia an initial score of 95-96 points.
Sassicaia has become one of the most sought after wines the world over and this year the Estate will produce less than 11,000 cases (normally 12,500). Our first release price is also extremely compelling and Sassicaia 2011 currently offers the lowest vintage price available. As the table below indicates the price of Sassicaia rises quickly once the wine is released to market. Moreover, over 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.
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.
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