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Tenuta San Guido
From 1948 to 1967, Marchese Mario Incisa della Ronchietta and his family had the sole enjoyment of the stunning red Bordeaux blends that were being made on their Bolgheri estate. Having realised that Cabernet Sauvignon relished in the region’s maritime conditions when first planted in the 1940s, the variety was planted with zeal along with cabernet franc. Released commercially in 1971, the 1968 vintage of the flagship wine, Sassicaia was welcomed with critical acclaim that has seen it retain its reputation as Italy’s finest red Bordeaux blend until now. Granted its own DOC status in 1994, Sassicaia’s price tag means it eludes the lips of many. However, there is much joy to be found in Guidalberto, the official second label. Here, cabernet sauvignon and merlot are seasoned with a dash of sangiovese. Merlot is grown specifically for this wine with the cabernet coming from deselected fruit that would otherwise make up the Sassicaia blend. Plum, blackberry and cherry notes are the hallmarks of the wine’s fruit flavours. Full-bodied in style, the silky tannins and round acidity give a structure that demands patience in order for its full beauty to be appreciated. The early-drinking third wine, Le Difese blends cabernet sauvignon with sangiovese in a mix of American oak and French barriques. A fruit driven wine with fine tannins, it is a great introduction to this estate’s winemaking prowess. In very good vintages it sees in its 10th birthday with confidence, having developed greater complexity in the ageing process.