Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Romanée-Conti, Yquem, Le Pin, Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises. We’ve all heard of some of the famous names in the world of wine. Names and vintages that resound with perceived greatness, of inimitable experiences. Words that are whispered in reverence, in wonder, or, if you are lucky enough, of a magical memory shared with friends.
In my short career as a wine enthusiast, I have been fortunate to try one or two of these incredible wines. Some were, quite simply, astonishing and unparalleled, while others were perhaps a little disappointing given the hype that surrounds the name. While the name Sassicaia may not yet be in the same ranking as some of the names above, in the short history of superTuscans it is a superstar and, at a recent tasting, a bottle of the 1995 vintage provided one of the most incredible tasting experiences I’ve had to date.
The wine was a bright medium-deep ruby with a slight brickening to the rim. Perfumed, ethereal and very complex on the nose. Ripe bell pepper (the wine is majority Cabernet Sauvignon), plum, black truffle, mushroom, violets, hazelnuts, fine leather, cherry all swirled through the course of the tasting, along with a quality that can only be described as homemade tomato sauce! Perfectly ripe, without a single dominant or detracting element – I could have gone on smelling the wine all night! On the palate, the wine showed a ripe entry, with a savoury procedure across the mid-palate. Crisp acidity, moderate alcohol (astonishingly only 12% abv) and a moderate but densely focused body. The tannins were very fine, elegant and long. One taster described them aptly as “perfectly well-behaved over a long journey” – like an ideal travelling companion perhaps! And a long journey it was – savoury, juicy, inimitable all the way to the end.
It is drinking very well now, though I would happily let the wine evolve in the bottle over another 5-10 years. Without doubt, up there as one of the best tasting experiences I’ve ever had – and it’s a lot more affordable than Lafite!