The tale of the world’s most popular and best wines—called Super Tuscan—begins with a marriage in Rome. The founder of Bolgheri Wine Production, Mario Incisa Della Rochetta from Piemonte, was born in Rome. He had an extraordinary passion for agriculture and horses, and he had served in the cavalry during World War I.
After returning from the war, he joined the faculty of Agriculture, where he got married to Clarice Della Gherardesca in 1930. After World War II, Clarice inherited some property in Bolgheri. Hence, the couple settled in Bolgheri. Mario farmed his first vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1944. He was inspired by his grandfather, who served as a collector of wine.
Mario named his wine Sassicaia – i.e., Land of Many Stones. Later in 1968, his son Nicole and nephew first sold this wine. In 1974, in a wine-tasting event, the 6-year old Sassicaia won over 33 other wines from 11 different countries in a tasting of great clarets. Consequently, this event proved to be a turning point in the history of Bolgheri wine production. In the succeeding years, Bolgheri became famous across Italy as well as abroad. Formally, the wine was termed Super Tuscan.
Super Tuscan wines are a collection of various red wines produced in an Italian region called Tuscany, and Bolgheri is a part of Tuscany. They are manufactured with grapes that are not typical for the region, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The first ever Super Tuscan was Sassicaia, and it turned out to be the first Italian wine to be classified as a Super Tuscan.
Today, Bolgheri is home to some of Italy’s most famous wines. These wines from Bolgheri are popular for their delicate and light favours. This is because the soil in Bolgheri is constituted of clay & limestone, which retains water well and doesn’t create a strong, earthy flavour when the wine is fermented.
In order to produce Bolgheri wine, grapes must be grown with specific vineyard practices that have been mastered over a period of time by winemakers in this region. The three primary grape types used in Bolgheri wine are Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Albarola and Trebbiano Toscano. Besides red wines, white wines have gained a lot of popularity, especially those made from Vermentino. It is a grape variety that performs well near the sea.
Bolgheri’s wines have been ranked amongst Italy’s best wines by several prestigious wine experts, such as Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, and Wine Spectator.
In 1994, Sassicaia was awarded its own DOC – i.e., Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC. It is the only wine from a state in Italy with such privilege. Before this status, Sassicaia was classified as an Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). It was a Vino da Tavola initially.
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