Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rochetta and Mike Laing host a lunch at Castiglioncello, Bolgheri

Our trip started with a morning flight from London Gatwick to Pisa and then a short coach ride to the famous Cypress tree lined road that leads up to Bolgheri, where we stopped at Tenuta San Guido and the Osteria - Enoteca owned by the Incisa family.

Lunch was accompanied by the delicious and unusual white Sangiovese that the Marchese makes in conjunction with Fertuna winery, then Le Difese 2011 (Sangiovese/Cabernet/Merlot blend) that was filled with briary fresh fruit and the Guidalberto 2011 (Cabernet/Merlot) with its structured elegance and poise. 

Following a welcome dip in the hotel pool and a competitive game of table tennis the assembled guests were whisked off to Enoteca Tognoni in Bolgheri for an evening of the wines of Agricola Punica.  First up was the silky succulent Samas 2012 (Vermentino/Chardonnay) the perfect wine to whet everyone's appetite for the delicious food that was to follow. Thankfully we had the ever entertaining Sebastiano Rosa on hand to talk everyone through the history and wines and his winemaking skill was evident in the plush, ripe berry fruit of the Montessu 2011. Next up was the bold structured, muscular Barrua 2010 and finally served from half bottles a delicious, liquorice and ripe blackberry filled Barrua 2007.

Friday revealed itself to be hot and sunny, the perfect weather for a visit to the Tenuta San Guido winery, whose cool barrel cellar was the setting for the Marchese Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta to talk people through the history and  vineyards of this iconic estate. Then everyone got the chance to refresh their memories  with a repeat performance from Guidalberto 2011 and then a first look at Sassicaia 2010, both utterly gorgeous.

Then we moved to the main event, firstly a visit to the vineyards before climbing high into the hills to arrive at Castiglioncello, the historic property owned by the Incisa family and the perfect place to take in the exceptional views of the extended Maremma and the site of the first vineyard that set both Sassicaia and Bolgheri on the road to worldwide vinous fame.

Awaiting us at Castiglioncello was a lunch replete with the greatest hits of Italian cuisine, all accompanied by a stellar line up of various vintages of the superstar Sassicaia and its little brother Guidalberto, all from Magnum.To start came Guidalberto 2009 and 2006, showing great fruit and some lovely developed notes. These set the tone for the next pair: Sassicaia 2006 and 2004, the first showing more weight and fruit richness with hints of bay leaf, compared to the relatively compact and reserved but wonderfully classic 2004. We were then treated to the terrific 2001 which was followed by the exceptional 1998. I have been lucky to try the 1998 a few times and it never disappoints, enormous energy, verve and bright concentrated fruit mark it out as a true great.   

The last wine was served blind and from the moment that everyone first smelled and then tasted it, they knew it was something very special, its huge personality, still youthful concentration and opulent power was to be revealed as the legendary 1985. What a fitting finale to a once in a lifetime trip.

Blog by Phil Weeks, 8th July 2013

Read Jancis Robinson's article on Sassicaia here: 
Read Jancis Robinson's article on Sassicaia here:

Our guests clearly had a wonderful time judging by this incredibly generous gift from one of our clients delivered to our offices just a few moments ago!
Thank you very much - our staff all have a big smile on their faces!

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