Robert Parker 96+
The 2009 Bolgheri Sassicaia is the richest and darkest edition in recent memory. This super-charged Sassicaia boasts enormous power and concentration thanks to its impressive phenolic foundation. Black currant and blackberry confit are followed by spice, leather, tar, road paving and black truffle. It shows preliminary tertiary signs with licorice and crushed mineral. The wine wraps thickly over the palate delivering tight textural firmness and integrated structure. You taste the sweetness of the fruit and the depth of the oak tannins. No matter how you approach it, this wine scores very high on the intensity meter. For the record: Tenuta San Guido General Manager Carlo Paoli expressed concern about the integrity of his sample, but I remained extremely pleased by the gorgeous wine before me.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040
(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.