2017, as we well know, was not an easy year, therefore for a company being able to make a wine of excellent quality was an important result.
At Tenuta San Guido the selection of grapes was made in the vineyard while an important selection of wines was made in the cellar.
The best wines were used for the final assembly. All this has led to the production, in less, about 50,000 bottles of Sassicaia. A serious company such as Tenuta San Guido has chosen the noble and correct objective of preferring quality over the achievement of the commercial objective of bottling all the wine produced, placing itself, in this case, in a highly criticizable position. After vintages such as 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016, of high and very high level, 2017, even if in general it is considered a very difficult vintage, could not fail to be of high quality.
I remember Sassicaia 2015 as a wine already ready for its release, already perfect. Sassicaia 2016 is a slightly more structured wine than in 2015, but which needed to remain a little bottled to give the best of itself. The 2017 has as its characteristic, the lavender soap that reminds me of the Atkinson soap, while the 2016 I remember that it had very clear hints of sea water. In 2017, to the taste, a slightly more evident acidity (blackberry) is felt and a thick, rich, almost completely broad tannin.
It will be appropriate to give some information on what was the climatic trend of the 2017 vintage, in relation to the “Tenuta San Guido.
The 2017 vintage was a very hot vintage and was assimilated to 2003 and 2012. Spring and summer were characterized by temperatures often above the norm. Autumn and the beginning of winter were characterized by cold temperatures, north winds and average rainfall. This climate has stopped the vines negatively and has facilitated the elimination of the parasites of the vine and has meant that the water reserves have been maintained. Spring gave temperatures above the average, conditioning the flowering, in particular the allegation, creating clusters with less numeric presence of berries.
This drastic temperature range between winter and spring has destabilized the plants, conditioning them in terms of production but not in the quality and phenolic maturation of the grapes.
The summer was characterized by sunny days, high temperatures and a set of factors including the lower number of berries, the adequate availability of water in the subsoil, the absence of harmful parasitologies and the intensity of sea breezes, present from the end of June to the end of July, they made it possible to obtain a harvest with unexpected results.
Another important factor was the temperature range between day and night which favored the development of both primary and secondary aromas, as well as the increase in acidity, indispensable for giving freshness and elegance to the musts that resulted from it.
Cabernet Franc has shown an early maturity compared to previous years as well as a reduction in terms of production. On the contrary, Cabernet Sauvignon was regularly harvested, the grapes were healthy even if with less load of bunches and grapes.
The historic vineyards of Sassicaia (Castiglioncello, Quercione and Doccino), located on the heights, surrounded by woods caressed by sea breezes and the temperature range between night and day, gave the best quality results.
With the 2017 vintage, the blend was 18% Cabernet Franc, instead of the usual 15% and 82% Cabernet Sauvignon.
As I mentioned, the work was hard in the vineyard and the selection of wines was not easy, a selection desired by the technicians, primarily by Carlo Paoli, general manager of the company, who rightly wanted to produce less Sassicaia to obtain better quality. Unbalanced wines with dry tannins were discarded. Only the best wines have been used and the result achieved confirms it.
As for the width of the tannin, it is important that it makes the following clarifications so that it can be understood. I feel the tannin of the wine on the upper gum. The total width of the tannin is 6/6, that is, the entire width of the upper gum. Obviously, if the tannin is less wide, it can be for example 5/6 and so on. The width of the tannin is important when the quality of the tannin is good or high. The wider the tannin, the more the wine is worthy of attention, but the tannin, as I have specified, must be, in any case, of good quality.
Let’s now describe the wine tasted.
TENUTA SAN GUIDO
SASSICAIA, vintage 2017
(Grapes: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc)
Deep purple-black red robe
Rich and varied nose with fruity aromas of blueberry, plum and cassis, followed by mint, eucalyptus, leather in fine tannery processing, leather saddle, black pepper, intense nutmeg, lavender soap, (reminds me of Atkinson soap), licorice, broken cyclamen stem, cooked grapes (crushed with grapes), boiled chestnuts with wild fennel, ending with puffs of sea water (white melon and the inside of the watermelon peel).
On the palate it reveals a good structure and fruity flavors of squeezed plum and blackberry, slightly unripe. Well balanced wine with alcoholic mass in undertone with respect to freshness and tannins. The latter are quite large (6 / 6–), sweet, initially thick and velvety and then, in the final, slightly dry the upper gum. Its persistence is long with a fruity plum and blueberry finish.
This wine was tasted by me several times over 3-4 months and each time I felt a positive evolution and with the stop of the wine in the bottle there will be a further improvement.