Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2016

Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2016

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    2016

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    Italy

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    14%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 40%

The 2016 vintage is considered one of the best of the last decade.

An unusually warm and dry autumn was followed by a rather rainy winter with low temperatures on the final part of the season, especially in February when rains and cold temperatures were below the seasonal average. In mid-April the rise of the temperatures caused an early sprouting of the vines (about 10 days earlier). The early spring was characterised by an alternation of rainy and sunny days with temperatures slightly below the seasonal average until mid-June, when summer finally arrived with temperatures above 30-32 ° C. Summer days were quite hot but never dry thanks to the strong ventilation during the day and the very positive climate excursion between days and nights. Thanks to these factors and to the good water supply of the soils, vines did not suffer any water stress. Grapes were well distributed on the plants with an homogeneous size of the berries. At the end of July some rains have brought further refreshment to the vines and helped to clean the grapes. The season continued with sunny days and temperatures in the seasonal averages until the ripening of the grapes was completed.

About Tenuta San Guido

Tenuta San Guido is much better known by the name of its most famous wine – Sassicaia. It is located in the Tuscan region of Maremma, and is has its own single-estate DOC appellation (Bolgheri Sassicaia) applied to its flagship label.

Sassicaia, one of the original Super Tuscan wines, is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Cabernet Franc. It is known for its supple texture, elegance and perfume.

The grapes that go into Sassicaia are picked just before they reach full ripeness, which contributes to finesse and fragrance as well as a lower alcohol levels. After two weeks' fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged for around 24 months in French oak barrels (around 20 percent of which are new).

Tenuta San Guido also makes Guidalberto and Le Difese from declassified Sassicaia fruit and from other estate vineyards. These two wines are classified as IGT Toscana. Guidalberto is a Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot blend, and Le Difese Cabernet Sauvignon – Sangiovese, with a portion aged in American oak.

In collaboration with the Santadi Co-op, the estate also owns Agricola Punica in Sardinia. This operation produces three wines under the Isola Dei Nuraghi IGT classification.

Sassicaia ("stony field" in English) was created as an experimental wine in the 1940s by the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta (a cousin of the Antinoris), who dreamed of making a wine to rival great Bordeaux. On settling at his wife's estate, he experimented with several French varieties before focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, noting the similarity between the local gravelly terrain and that of Graves in Bordeaux.

His initial wines, which were heavier than other local wines, did not gain a warm reception and so, while production continued on a small scale, the first commercial release of Sassicaia did not happen until 1968. The wine was an immediate hit, and production was quickly modernised. In the 1980s, the Marchese's cousin Ludovico Antinori began to plant his neighbouring property, Ornellaia.

The wine was initially released as a Vino da Tavola due in part to the lack of history of the coastal region it was made in, which was dismissed as swampy by many producers. But Sassicaia's early acclaim prompted the introduction of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification across Italy, as the authorities did not want Italy's most famous wine to be labelled Vino da Tavola. In 1994, the single estate DOC and broader Bolgheri appellation were set up as planting across the entire Maremma rapidly increased.

Grape variety
Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France and Spain, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, South Africa's Stellenbosch region, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions, and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990. However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most widely planted wine grape.

Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation - the grapes have thick skins and the vines a re hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects - and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions.

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavours can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.

The style of Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. When more on the unripe side, the grapes are high in pyrazines and will exhibit pronounced green bell peppers and vegetal flavours. When harvested overripe the wines can taste jammy and may have aromas of stewed blackcurrants. Some winemakers choose to harvest their grapes at different ripeness levels in order to incorporate these different elements and potentially add some layer of complexity to the wine. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavours of black cherries and plum. The aroma of blackcurrants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes.

Alternative Names: Bidure, Bouche, Bordo, Bouchet, Burdeos Tinto, Lafite, Vidure

Merlot

Merlot is a dark blue-coloured wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the colour of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally. The area planted to Merlot has continued to increase, with 266,000 hectares (660,000 acres) in 2015.

While Merlot is made across the globe, there tend to be two main styles. The "International style" favoured by many New World wine regions tends to emphasise late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple coloured wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavours (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.

As a varietal wine, Merlot can make soft, velvety wines with plum flavours. While Merlot wines tend to mature faster than Cabernet Sauvignon, some examples can continue to develop in the bottle for decades. There are three main styles of Merlot - a soft, fruity, smooth wine with very little tannins; a fruity wine with more tannic structure; and, finally, a brawny, highly tannic style made in the profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the fruit notes commonly associated with Merlot include cassis, black and red cherries, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, mulberry, olallieberry and plum. Vegetable and earthy notes include black and green olives, cola nut, bell pepper, fennel, humus, leather, mushrooms, rhubarb and tobacco. Floral and herbal notes commonly associated with Merlot include green and black tea, eucalyptus, laurel, mint, oregano, pine, rosemary, sage, sarsaparilla and thyme. When Merlot has spent significant time in oak, the wine may show notes of caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee bean, dill weed, mocha, molasses, smoke, vanilla and walnut.

Alternative Names: Alicante, Alicante Noir, Bégney, Bidal, Bidalhe, Bigney, Bigney rouge, Bini, Bini Ruzh, Bioney, Black Alicante, Bordeleza belcha, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Crabutet Noir merlau, Hebigney, Higney, Higney rouge, Langon, Lecchumskij, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlaut, Merlaut Noir, Merle, Merle Petite, Merleau, Merlô, Merlot Noir, Merlot black, Merlot blauer, Merlot crni, Merlot nero, Merlott, Merlou, Odzalesi, Odzhaleshi, Odzhaleshi Legkhumskii, Petit Merle, Picard, Pikard, Plan medre, Planet Medok, Plant du Médoc, Plant Médoc, Saint-Macaire, Same de la Canan, Same dou Flaube, Sème de la Canau, Sème Dou Flube, Semilhon rouge, Semilhoum rouge, Semilhoun rouge, Sémillon rouge, Sud des Graves, Vidal, Vini Ticinesi, Vitrai and Vitraille

About Toscana IGT

Toscana IGT is the most famous – and the most commonly used – of Italy's Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) titles. The geographical region it indicates is, in short, Tuscany. Toscana IGT wines can be made in any village in any of Tuscany's 10 provinces (Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena).

Free from the stylistic constraints imposed on DOCG and DOC wines, Toscana IGT wines can be made in almost every form imaginable, from bone-dry whites to sweet reds and sparkling rosés. Naturally, given Tuscany's longstanding success with dry red wine, this style is by far the most common.

Tuscany is the home of Italy's most famous IGT category not just because it produces more IGT wine than any other region, but also because it was the famous 'Super Tuscan' wines made here that led to the creation of the category.

When the Italian DOC system was introduced in the 1960s, it proved less efficient than the French system on which it was modelled, and it was certainly less well-received. Many Italian wine producers found the new rules too restrictive and openly criticised the system. A number of these, most notably in Tuscany, chose to continue making their wines as they saw fit, focusing on quality and individuality rather than conforming to their local DOC laws. The price of this freedom was having to label their wines as Vino da Tavola ('table wine'), the lowest tier in Italy's wine classification system.

During the late 1960s, a number of these rebel producers began making modern-styled wines of very high quality – which later became known as the 'Super Tuscans'. These soon gained international acclaim and respect and began increasing dramatically in price. The result was that some of Italy's very finest and most respected wines were being labelled and sold as Vino di Tavola. In 1984, one of the most famous Super Tuscans – Sassicaia – was granted its very own DOC title, DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, but further measures were required to address the other wines.

To bring a degree of balance to the situation, in 1992 the Italian government introduced a new wine classification category: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). This has successfully introduced a mid-ground between the highly regulated DOCG and DOC classifications and the lowly, unregulated Vino di Tavola one. IGT wines are created with the bare minimum of restrictions required to ensure quality wine production: they bear a vintage statement and producer name, they must be made from at least 85% of the grape variety, and the region of origin must be stated on the label. Almost every other restriction placed on IGT wine production falls back to generic regulations in force for all wines made within the EU.

The IGT category is used only in Italy; its equivalent in France is VDP (Vin de Pays). At a European Union-wide level, these two correspond to IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée / Indicazione Geografica Protetta).

The range and diversity of IGT wines continue to expand and evolve in the early 21st Century. The category has freed Italian wine producers from the constraints of tradition, allowing them to produce wines for the modern palate and – arguably more important – for global export markets.

Regular price $498.00

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