The Wine Spectator #1 Wine of 2018 is…..
Super Tuscans are back on top!
Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia been a cult favourite for decades, but it wasn’t always so widely loved. In the first few years of production, Sassicaia was unpopular with the locals. Residents of Tuscany either drank Chianti or preferred the lighter, fruitier characteristics of a simple Sangiovese. Bordeaux grape varieties were not favoured in Tuscany, and the complex Sassicaia in particular did not please the local palate. Italian wine drinkers did not yet understand that the wines were designed to aged and would need more time to develop. That all changed in the 1980s when Sassicaia acquired a loyal following and Super Tuscans caught the attention of global wine critics and the media.
What is a Super Tuscan?
In short, a Super Tuscan is a made up phrase for an Italian wine from Tuscany that doesn’t follow the Chianti rules.
The Super Tuscan Rebellion
Super Tuscan is not an official category of wine, but rather a term coined by Robert Parker. In the long history of Italian wine, Super Tuscans are relatively new to the wine world. The wines belong to a wine category called IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipical = typical regional wine). IGTs came about in the late 1960s when some Tuscan wine producers decided that the rules and recipe for receiving Chianti DOC certification were too restrictive and wanted more freedom in their winemaking. Winemakers rebelled again the Chianti regulations, and it paid off. Even though the wines are classified as a basic regional table wine, they can often demand some pretty high prices. Antinori’s Tignanello and Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia are two fantastic examples of that.
How Did Sassicaia Make it To the Coveted #1 Spot on Wine Specatator’s Top 100?
Sassicaia has consistently scored high with the critics and this year is received a score of 94 Points by Wine Spectator for the 2015 vintage. Other legendary vintages include 1985 and 1988, but this is the first time the wine has made it to the coveted #1 spot on the Wine Spectator list.
Bruce Sanderson, Senior Editor for Wine Spectator, has this to say about the Tenuta San Guido 2015 Sassicaia:
“Rich and concentrated, this red features black currant, blackberry, violet, mineral and spice flavors. Dense yet lively, structured yet impeccably balanced, with vibrant acidity driving the long, fruit-filled aftertaste. The oak is beautifully integrated. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2023 through 2042.”
It’s a collector’s wine. Although just announced, there is already buzz around the wine and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bottle of it now. If you do, it’ll cost you, but if you’re a wine enthusiast, it’s an investment… and a pretty delicious one at that!