The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Bodega Chacra and Tenuta San Guido

Posted on | September 24, 2015 | Written by Will Di Nunzio | No Comments

will expertMany great producers involve themselves with wine far more than just making it. They get into writing about wine, the politics of it, and its traditions, working to conserve or move it forward for the next generation. And, of course, there are those who are in constant search for the next discovery—the next great wine. One such family is the Incisa della Rocchetta family of Tenuta San Guido, makers of Sassicaia. From the very beginning, Mario Incisa della Rochetta did what everyone told him not to do: make a Bordeaux blend in Italy. In the 1940s, this was probably the craziest thing to have ever happened in Italian wine.

Mario’s two grandsons are at the head of Tenuta San Guido these days, and while Giovanni runs the estate in Italy, his brother Piero acts as an ambassador as he continues his own personal pursuit of happiness on the other side of the world. Over a decade ago Piero Incisa della Rocchetta opened the doors to Bodega Chacra, his Pinot Noir project in Patagonia, Argentina. It took him years to find the very best location to make his Burgundy-styled Pinots in the middle of the Patagonian desert, but the success of Bodega Chacra shows that Piero’s work was worth it. Today, I’ve chosen one of Piero’s Patagonian wines and one beautiful magnum of Sassicaia to celebrate this great winemaking family.

Bodega Chacra 2011 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Cincuenta y Cinco $60.00

Every time I open this bottle I am impressed. Piero delivers a glorious, elegant and balanced Pinot Noir from Argentina, where we usually find big, fruity wines. Made from vines that were planted in 1955, hence “Cincuenta y Cinco” or fifty five, this is a wine for all palates. I had this ‘11 with some friends as a starter wine a few weeks ago during one of Chef Michael’s elaborate meals. Antipasti or tapas styled meals are perfect for this gem from one of the great Italian winemaking families.

​ ​Tenuta San Guido ​2012 ​Sassicaia 1.5L $​449

What can you really say about the most collected Italian wine? Many things, actually. 2012 Sassicaia throws me for a loop as it has two characteristics that are phenomenal. First, you get what you expect from your Sassicaia: all your earthy, leather, young Cab fruit and balance that are typical of this wine. Second, you get something unexpected, which comes from how the vintage changed the wine. 2012 had some cool spells, and this Sassicaia offers higher minerality and gorgeous acidity, which will only make this one of the great Sassicaias down the road. This is one clean, elegant vintage, and we were all very excited to see where it will end up. Especially out of magnum!

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