Sassicaia, arguably the most famous wine in all of Italy, is a wine unto itself – literally. One can say that as the wine has its own DOC – Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC – a status that no other wine in Italy has. Produced by Tenuta San Guido at its estate in Bolgheri amidst the famous “avenue of cypresses,” Sassicaia is a wine that has been a true trailblazer.
The history of Sassicaia dates back to 1944 when Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta decided to produce a novel wine at his Tenuta San Guido estate, which sits at an elevation of 1300 feet, only one mile from the Tyrennhian Sea in western Tuscany. Though warned by some that the proximity to the sea would make proper ripening difficult, the marchese sensed that the high elevation would mean more sunshine, a critical factor for maturation. He decided upon Cabernet Sauvignon for this land, as he believed the area’s chalky soil resembled that of Bordeaux. He called his wine Sassicaia, “the place of many stones.”
As Cabernet Sauvignon was a “foreign” variety to much of Tuscany, there was a great deal of skepticism that this project would endure; as a result, only friends and family enjoyed the wine for the first ten to fifteen years. But as the older offerings started to round out beautifully after a decade in the bottle, it was evident that this was a very special wine. Finally in 1968, winemaker Giacomo Tachis released the wine to the market where it was greeted with unanimous praise from media and consumers alike.