Robert Parker 97
This is a classic vintage of an Italian icon now celebrating its 50th vintage. The Tenuta San Guido 2018 Bolgheri Sassicaia lays out a familiar blueprint that borrows from the proven track record of this landmark estate that extends into the hills just beyond the Tyrrhenian shores of Tuscany. This vintage is crystalline and pure in its delivery, and if you are familiar with previous editions, it is impossible to mistake this wine for anything but Sassicaia. The growing season started off cool and wet but turned to warm and dry conditions comfortably before the harvest. Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc in a supporting role deliver a graceful mid-weight texture that holds back style-wise in terms of phenolic density. The wine’s careful balance is achieved thanks to the nuanced character of the fruit, the present acidity, the well-managed structure and the contained alcohol. The palate is lifted and bright, the finish is polished and long, and the wine skips over any heaviness on the mid-palate. The bouquet is especially intriguing with a very lively plummy fruit element that is enhanced by baker’s chocolate, pepper spice, iron ore, caramel and pie crust. There is also a green character that adds positively to the bouquet with aniseed, tea leaf, soya, menthol rub and black olive. The fruit maturity is spot-on with no elements that feel over or underripe. Overall, the 2018 Sassicaia weighs in with a svelte frame and long persistence. Moreover, it is distinguished by the archetypal elegance and pedigree of the classic vintages of the past. This new release gives you much pleasure to await.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2045
The 2018 Sassicaia is fabulous. Bright and beautifully poised, the 2018 opens with brilliant aromatics that make a strong first impression. Delicate and light on its feet, the 2018 is a regal wine that is going to need a number of years to come into its own. Sassicaia is the most finessed of Bolgheri’s top wines. That is very much the case in 2018 as well. I loved it. A cold winter led to a late spring and delayed start to the year. May and June saw some heat, but only moderate temperatures. Only July was truly warm, with minimal diurnal shifts. Cool winds arrived again in August, and temperatures dropped quickly, especially at night. Mid-August saw some rain. Harvest started on September 7 with the Franc and wrapped up on the 29th with the last of Cabernet Sauvignon. The year favored the estate’s oldest vineyards, those on hillside sites. The 2018 spent 19 months in oak, two-thirds new, a bit more new oak than the norm. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Franc, a bit less Franc than is often the case, as Franc suffered more under the conditions of the season.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2043
James Suckling 97
Beautiful, serene aromas of sweet berries and wild flowers with light lavender and fresh sage. Really aromatic. A firm, silky red with medium to full body and ultra fine tannins that are polished and beautiful. Lots of blue fruit and blackberries follow through to a beautiful finish. Really tight and polished. Bright acidity. Will be lovely to drink in a few years. The 2017 and 2016 were about power, but the 2018 is about finesse and subtlety. Try after 2024.