Sassicaia 2021, caustic yet balletic

A poetry which goes beyond the rich season.

Our visit to Tenuta San Guido on the 9th of February allowed us to take an in-depth look into the new projects and the chance to taste the new vintages which will soon be on the market: Le Difese 2022, Guidalberto 2022 and Sassicaia 2021.

The wine tastings were done with the usual good form and lustrous tradition at San Guido with the Director, Carlo Paoli and his very young, close knit team; Matilde Gentili, Alessio Bartolomei, Benedetta Marchetto, Elena Brachini and Matteo Ciompi.

There were two vintages in the tasting which were, in certain aspects, extraordinary, not really classics.

The 2022 vintage, (Le Difese and Guidalberto) was a hot, dry year that followed the 2021 vintage which was also not very rich in water.

The prolonged heat didn’t reach all time high temperatures (over the last five years those temperatures must be attributed to 2023) but certainly increased the worry about the plants who struggled in every possible manner to not go into hydric-stress.

The winery knows how to be amazing even in the most difficult times (as all great champions do) and for sure the 2022 vintage was no exception.

The wines produced have a dominating yet composed underlying sweetness which gives immense, immediate pleasure, also they don’t present any austere, less than graceful herbaceous vibes.

The most evident elements are those of softness and sweetness as described for Le Difese but it’s the interpretation at San Guido which hits home in such a positive manner.

A less tense and vibrant Guidalberto has character to sell with its anthocyanin smoothness which distinguishes it from the rest.

The team confirmed that the greatest difficulties they met were to harvest the grapes when perfect maturity had been reached from different varieties (principally Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) and different vineyards all at the same time.

The 2021 Sassicaia vintage was a concentrated season. Decidedly dry with little rain which benefitted however from the Autumn/Winter from 2020/2021 when it rained a lot thereby creating optimum reserves for the plants during the hottest months. Spring started in line with the norm but took a sudden step back with the big freeze which hit most of Italy in early April.

With sacrifice and a great desire to see the grapes arrive healthy and turgid, albeit in slightly less quantity than usual, right up to the end of the season the team were happy to see at the end of the summer and beginning of autumn a splendid high pressure front which stationed itself over Italy, particularly in Tuscany which brought tranquillity and depth to the vintage. With good thermal excursions, not only the grapes reached perfect maturity but also the bunches, a phenomenon which happens less and less frequently but is always warmly welcomed.

‘’ A dense bunch like this, in which it is difficult to distinguish the grapes along with the perfect calm during the harvest has produced one of the most interesting vintages of the last few years, perhaps even superior to the 2016 in some respects.’’

With these words Director Carlo Paoli assured us of the level of satisfaction and happiness they reached during the production of this wine which will continue to make history as an Italian classic known around the world.

For Sassicaia 2021 is a perfectly mature wine of great beauty and grace, character and humanity. It follows a version (Sassicaia 2020) in which the sunniness was more evident but has something extra that is most intriguing; above all an incredible silkiness in the tannins which can only be attained in the best vintages. 

It is creamy, persuasive and graceful, a poetry which goes beyond the rich season.

Red Wines

Producer Denomination Wine Vintage Score Type
Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 2021 99 Red

Dynamic and slender in the sensory profile showing notes of lavender, plums, hyacinth, magnolia, sandalwood, camphor and lemon and bergamot peel. Agapanthus flowers, wisteria and gardenias describe the secondary profile softening and diluting the matrix. There’s complexity and composed richness that in the game between oxidation and reduction confirms its solid beauty. The body of the wine is perfectly balanced in the sip, showing a full, enveloping profile, there’s a subtle balsamic presence and it’s animated by soft, creamy tannins giving a linear, essential finale. A version of Sassicaia that’s extremely enjoyable from the start, immediately persuasive and convincing. Notwithstanding the great changes and difficulties this wine will continue to be written and spoken about as a milestone in Bolgheri excellence. Better from 2027.

Tenuta San Guido Toscana Guidalberto 2022 94 Red

Rich and well pronounced in the glass showing wet floral notes which blend well with dark, spicy traces of black cherries, dates, fondant chocolate, peppermint and juniper berries. The subtle split vine emerges in the secondary profile without being overbearing. Over time it veers towards decisive citrus sensations. Full bodied, perfectly mature tannins, less extracted and astringent than in more tense versions and a finale of optimum grace. A version which is wider than it is long which centres on the correct interpretation of the vintage. Drink now.

Tenuta San Guido Toscana Le Difese 2022 92 Red

Juicy and intriguing from the start in the sensory profile showing notes of plums, lavender, agapanthus flowers, white musk, cherries and lemon peel. Medium bodied, rounded tannins of optimum quality and a tasty, linear finale which closes in the best possible manner. Absolutely decisive and engaging. Drink now.

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