As mentioned in our Ornellaia release email a few months ago, the weather throughout the growing season in 2019 was very variable. After a very cool and wet April and May, which delayed flowering, June brought hot and dry weather, with a short heat spike at the end of the month. Sassicaia’s excellent location ensured that sea breezes brought superb ventilation, which favoured aromatic development. A few days of rain in both July and August was of great benefit to the vines. San Guido say the conditions for grape maturity were very similar to the outstanding 2016 vintage. The wine is characterised by excellent freshness and soft but notable tannins - the wine has a high dry extract – and so should be a wine with exceptional ageing potential.
It is interesting to note that only 40% of 2019 Sassicaia saw new French oak, with a further 40% ageing in once-used wood oak and the remaining 20% in twice used oak.
As they were for Ornellaia, the critics have been highly complimentary about this vintage of Sassicaia. Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate scores the wine at 98 points, and her review is worth quoting at some length: “This vintage will be remembered for the crisp richness of the fruit and its important textural imprint. It also shows fine elegance, bordering on the ethereal, with berry aromas, tarry earth and brushes of balsam herb or grilled rosemary. Sassicaia always shows an almost-glossy finely knit quality to the polished mouthfeel, and I find it again here next to fresh acidity and firm tannins. Mouthfeel in 2019 is the wine's strongest suit. The 2019 is one of the prettiest and most balanced editions of Sassicaia we've seen this past decade, along with the back-to-back duo of 2016 and 2015. The 2019 marries the precision of the 2016 with the rich fruit weight of the 2015.”
The Wine Enthusiast lives up to its name by scoring the wine at 99 points and Kerin O’Keefe wrote this: “Enticing aromas of blue flower, cassis, camphor and spice are front and center in this stunning red. The lithe, savory palate features black currant, red plum and star anise while tobacco notes linger on the long finish. Elegant, polished tannins and bright acidity keep it beautifully balanced and focused.”
Most enthusiastic of all is Aldo Fiordelli in Decanter magazine, who scored the wine at 100 points. “Quite pale in the glass, the nose is extremely graceful and intense with a lavender note enhanced by restrained bramble fruits, fermented citrus peel, an intense violet aroma and graphite minerality in depth. The attack is soft and full, the flavour savoury and cedary through to the finish, with integrated velvety tannins and lifted acidity. A perfectly woven structure is bound with signature freshness and fruit vibrancy, making this one for the long haul.”
Raffaele Vecchione of WinesCritic.com, whose florid tasting notes we have sometimes quoted for these release emails, scored the wine with at 99/100. His review prose, always deeply purple, teetered on the edge of parody this year, so we felt it better to leave it out!
Recommended Glass Pairing
Spiegelau Red Wine Glass Set€27.95
The Style red-wine glass 4-pack from Spiegelau is a part of a series of elegantly formed crystal glasses