Wednesday Wines – Episode 200 – Sass & Dif

2021 Sassicaia, Tenuta San Guido, Bolgheri-Sassicaia, Italy and 2022 Le Difese, Tenuta San Guido, Toscana, Italy are two staggeringly delicious wines, and this might shock readers, but I enjoyed them equally.  Yes, equally.  I am well aware that 2021 Sassicaia is a Titan of a wine that makes collectors drool with desire, and while it offers sensational flavours, density and grandeur, it is precisely what I expected from such an esteemed label.  The inky colour is impenetrable, and the quality of oak used can be sensed from 10m.  The volume of fruit on the palate is prodigious, yet it is matched with sensational freshness on the finish.  The sooty tannins are present, but you need to concentrate to find any that are not entirely subsumed by luscious fruit, so while they hide in plain sight and will propel this wine along nicely for a couple of decades, they do not interfere with one’s enjoyment of this ridiculously regal wine.  I think that this is one of the finest young Sassicaias I have tasted, and while this means it warrants a starry score (19/20), I know that it will be judged on how well it maintains its allure and, crucially, its balance over the coming years.  All too often, wines with this degree of early enthusiasm start to fracture, slowing up and losing shape.  I, for one, do not think this will happen to 2021 Sassicaia.  I feel that it will hold its form for at least a decade and most likely two, but I do not think this is a ‘long term’ vintage.  So what of 2022 Le Difese? I can, hand on heart, say that I enjoyed drinking this wine as much as I did tasting Sassicaia.  This is head and shoulders above any Le Difese that precedes it, and the calibre of fruit used is sensational.  In addition, it is drinking perfectly already, and it doesn’t even seem to be trying to impress, unlike Sass, which yearns to be adored. 

Instead, 2022 Le Difese (one has to remind oneself it is the 3rd wine from this estate) strolls onto the stage and performs like a virtuoso.  It is bright, evocative and sexy, with 55% Sangiovese and 45% Cabernet locked together in a stunning embrace.  I cannot fault its demeanour, its exuberance and its complexity.  This wine is one-tenth the price of Sassicaia, yet I fell for it in a moment.  If I were you, I would load up with as much as you can find.  And while it weighs in with a hearty 18/20 score in the MJ noteboook (which if you favour the baffling 100 system is four or five points lower than Sassicaia), I can assure you that I enjoyed the experience every bit as much as I did tasting the Grand Vin!

2021 Sassicaia was released at approximately £1250 per 6 bottles in bond from reputable wine merchants

2022 La Difese was released at approximately £125 per 6 bottles in bond from reputable wine merchants