Stephen Tanzer's IWC
, Jan 2012, 97(+?)
(80% cabernet sauvignon and 20% cabernet franc): Bright full ruby. Pure, perfumed aromas of blackberry, cassis, lead pencil, violet and minerals, complicated by a superripe note of crushed raspberry. Extremely primary and pure, offering sharply defined cassis, violet and mineral flavors of great class. The perfectly integrated acidity and a vibrant floral character from the cabernet franc give the middle palate terrific lift. Though very ripe in its flavor profile, this wine conveys a rare lightness of touch that is typical of Sassicaia but rare for this vintage on the Tuscan Coast. Finishes with noble tannins and outstanding palate-staining length. For all its creamy power and charm, I really like this wine's balance and the subtle delivery of its complex flavors. I have tasted every vintage of Sassicaia on countless occasions and, other than the legendary 1985, I have no doubt that this is one of the two or three best Sassicaias at a similar stage of development. Though the 2009 won't surpass the once-in-a-lifetime 1985, it is starting out its life in bottle with almost the same perfectly balanced, opulent creamy texture and depth of that incredible wine, which I remembertasting both in Rome and in Tuscanyimmediately upon release. In fact, that wine was so good that even thoughI was still auniversity student (and thus on a studentbudget), it was the firsttime in my lifeI ever bought a full case. If I were a university student today, I'd do the same with the 2009, even though the price of Sassicaia is far higher today. There's profound potential here, but younger wine writers and consumers who weren't seriously involved in tasting back in the '80s may well be surprised by this wine's voluptuous, atypically opulent texture and thus miss its sheer greatness.
, Jan 2070, 17.5
Magnum. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc.Deep brick-garnet. Cigar box and dried thyme scents lift from the glass, with dried cassis too. Touches of black tea and five-spice oak give subtle complexity. Just a touch of volatility. Relatively full-bodied, with a rich and velvety texture. Notably grainier, firmer tannins than the 2016 – a bigger and more robust wine – without quite the elegance of the 2016. Quite a different character. (TJ)
, Jun 2015, 95
Showing a heavier gait, the 2009 Bolgheri Sassicaia is a bold and determined wine that boasts rich extraction and a substantial phenolic base. I’m told that this is one of the richest expressions ever produced and it definitely shows. Brooding and muscular, this Sassicaia reveals broad shoulders and deep footprints. On the nose, it offers heavy aromas of dark fruit, plum, blackberry, leather, spice, tobacco and grilled herb. At the back are tarry notes of resin and smoke. This vintage saw a stunning set of ideal conditions ranging from a humid spring that built water reserves, a hot summer that kept ripening on track and a cool pre-harvest period with deep shifts between day and nighttime temperatures for pronounced aromas. The wine shows substantial richness and opulence with well-managed tannins and pretty bursts of freshness. There is still a lot of life left within to carry it forward throughout the years.
When Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made a state visit to Washington, D.C. this past April, he packed a few bottles for the trip. He selected four wines to share with President Barack Obama. According to media reports they were Sassicaia (the 2011 vintage), Ornellaia, Tignanello and a Brunello di Montalcino by Mastrojanni. The statesmen sampled the wines together and President Obama joked that it would be “insulting” not to taste them. During a press conference, he turned to Renzi and smiled: “I will give you, Matteo, a report on whether it is up to the quality we expect.” |Born in Florence, Prime Minister Renzi made a sound selection of wines from his native Tuscany to share with the American president. Of these wines, none is more iconic than Sassicaia. Roughly one month prior to the White House wine summit, I was in Bolgheri at Tenuta San Guido to taste a few older vintages of Sassicaia including the 1982 and 1998. I was also able to taste preview samples of the excellent 2013 vintage and the challenging 2014 vintage.
, Oct 2012, 93
This tightly knit, dense red is full of black currant, cherry, herb and spice flavors. The tannins are aggressive now, but this is long and detailed, with an herb and spice aftertaste. A classy wine. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2028. 17,500 cases imported.
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