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The 2016 Sassicaia is a wine of soaring achievement. I tasted this wine several times during the course of its creation in both barrel and bottle, and the highly deserved 100-point score you see here was enthusiastically assigned at the conclusion of a mini vertical in which I tasted and compared the 2016 vintage against 2015 (which I scored 97 points). It makes perfect sense to present these two excellent vintages in back-to-back comparison fashion because they are two of the best to emerge from Bolgheri, and indeed Tenuta San Guido, in recent memory. These are very similar vintages with long, hot summer months that fueled a long growing season. There was a bit more rain in 2016, and in analytical terms this vintage has a tad more acidity. However, the results in the glass are extraordinarily different. The 2015 vintage is exuberant, round, succulent and immediate, whereas the 2016 vintage shows pinpoint sharpness and precision (with similar grit and texture at the back). That acidity will carry it long into the future as the wine completes its slow evolutionary course. This wine is chiseled and sharp with blackberry, ripe cherry, grilled herb and barbecue spice. The aromas flow from the glass in a continuous stream and are all marked by radiant intensity. The mouthfeel is long and powerful. The crisp linearity of the wine's tannic backbone is perfectly measured to the volume and depth of the fruit flavors. To my mind, the 2016 Sassicaia stands tall next to the epic 1985 vintage that set the ultimate benchmark for vino italiano. ML
Subtle and complex aromas of blackcurrants, fresh herbs, lavender, rosemary and oyster shell. Some moss, too. Very perfumed. Full-bodied yet integrated with refined tannins that melt into the palate. Extremely classy and polished. Hard not to drink now. Try after 2021, when the tannins will have integrated even better in the wine.
The 2016 Sassicaia is a fabulous wine in the making. Powerful and concentrated, with huge tannic clout, the 2016 has so much to offer. Black cherry, plum, licorice, spice and violet all pulse with energy in an explosive, thrilling Sassicaia that will drink well for several decades. Even with all of its intensity, the 2016 is precise and beautifully polished, not to mention absolutely delicious. Don't miss it.
One of the secret of Bolgheri’s mediterranean and windy climate is to turn pyrazines from the Cabernets into extra-dimensional scents of citron and leafy aromas. Sassicaia has been producing Cabernet-based wines here since 1968, which are typically marked by this fresh character on the nose. There's a note of kiwi peel that's particularly intense in this 2016, along with some cedar. In this vintage, its character is - if possible - more restrained than usual and definitely more so than the exceptional 2015. Small dark fruits lurk in the depth of the super-youthful nose, while on the palate the wine is not completely ready to drink - despite the good integration of oak, the tannins are still crunchy, perfectly ripe yet chewy, pushed by a lively acidity. An extremely elegant Sassicaia with a refined finish, this is built for the long haul and is possibly the best of this decade. Drinking Window 2020 - 2045
Blind tasted by Aldo Fiordelli (at San Guido, Consorzio Bolgheri, 24 Jun 2019)
Part of Young guns of Italy: The winemakers to know about
Aromas of cedar, tobacco, blue flower and spiced plum fuse together in this elegantly structured, stunning red. One of Italy's most iconic wines, the smooth, compelling palate delivers flavors of black cherry, cassis, licorice and a hint of wild herb. Taut, polished tannins provide seamless support while fresh acidity lends impeccable balance. A savory saline note lingers on the finish. Kerin O'Keefe
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