My first Super Tuscan experience: 2008 Tenuta San Guido ‘Sassicaia’ – Italy

Alright after reading an article about the history of Super Tuscan on Vino in Love I got curious about Sassicaia. I could be wrong, but I believe that the Sassicaia (2006 vintage) from Tenuta San Guido was my very first Super Tuscan.

Sassicaia is one of the most prestigious wines in the world. According to wine-searcher, Sassicaia is the #14th most popular wine in the world. I was looking for a good vintage and according to many sources 2008 is supposed to be the best vintage since the legendary 1988.  The wine is a blend of Bordeaux-style grapes (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc) and it aged for 24 months in French oak.

Average price for 2008 Sassicaia in the US: $198. I was able to buy the wine online at Sokolin.com for $169
Ratings: 97 JS 97 WE 96 WS 96 WA
Further more: 3/3 ‘biccheri’ by the 2012 Gambero Rosso (Italian wine book)

sassicaia 2008

I invited a few friends over and we all were very excited. We decanted the wine for 2 or 3 hours or so.

Since I wanted all of the wine to be at its best I decided to not try the wine before decanting it. That turned out to be a major mistake.

After taking a sip, I noticed that “something” was wrong. The wine was aweful. It tasted bitter. I should have concluded by the brick-red color that the win oxidized. You can’t imagine how sad I was. I just found out that I spent almost $170 on an undrinkable, alcoholic beverage. I called the Sokolin customer support and they said there was nothing they could do – no return – nothing. They said there is no insurance for corked/oxidized wine. A big warning: Don’t buy wine from Sokolin. I had good experiences in the past with them but after having wasted $170 on this oxidized wine. I cannot believe that they do this. Actually I’m shocked.

I will stop my rant now but I thought I will share my sad experience with you. That said I want to tell you that the evening still ended with a good wine. In my cellar I found a Rioja which turned out fine. I will write about that wine in the next days.

Have you had similar experiences? If so please share them with me. Nevertheless, I want to thank Julian from Vino in Love for his Super Tuscan post. Without it I would have never even considered trying one. I hope my next Super Tuscan will be better – certainly it won’t be another Sassicaia . . .

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15 thoughts on “My first Super Tuscan experience: 2008 Tenuta San Guido ‘Sassicaia’ – Italy

  1. I’m very sorry you. It’s weird that they don’t take the wine back. Never heard of such a policy. If I return a spoiled wine here then the wineshop just gives it back to the winery and I get a different bottle of the same wine or my money back.
    Losing all that money is just crazy.

    I was so excited to read your tasting notes for Sassicaia since I never had the chance to try this wine myself.
    The next time you by a wine just ask the store about their policies for returning wine.

    Thank you for the shout out. Always appreciate it.

    • It’s alright and not your fault. So don’t feel bad.

      I definitely will ask next time if they take the wine back in case it is corked or oxidized. Sucks though that I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

  2. Ouch, sorry to to hear that. It is very unusual for the retailer not to offer a replacement for the spoiled wine, most of the “brick and mortar” stores do. I would contact Sassicaia folks directly over twitter or just e-mail – there is a good chance that they will stand by their product.

  3. eeek that sounds awful! it’s so unfortunate when you get a bad bottle… i had a similar experience with an opus one a few years back. the bottle had a bad cork and the entire bottle was filled with teeny, tiny flakes of cork. we called it our sawdust wine.

  4. Oh Frank this is horrible. I feel very sorry for you. That wine should have been “something special” in a much more positive way.
    Talk a Vino is right, you should email the winery and see what they can do.

    • I know that the average wine that I drink is rather expensive but $170 for a wine is even considered expensive by me. I bought from the wine many times (for sure over $1200 total) so they should have tried to work this out with me. I’m really frustrated but I’ll contact Tenuta San Guido via mail. TaV suggested that and I hope the winery can do something

  5. Frank, I am so sorry, I have to say mostly for the attitude of the Sokolin people: I mean, unfortunate as it may be, we all know that with cork the risk exists that we end up with a corked or oxidized bottle. What is in my view unacceptable, especially for a top wine like Sassicaia, is for the retailer not to stand behind their product and not to keep the customer happy. Now what they did is that they alienated you, they lost you as a customer, they lost all of us who read this post as potential customers and even worse they (understandably) made you “hate” Sassicaia. So, really nobody wins out of this attitude.
    With that said, I recommend that you let things “decant” 😉 for a while but if in the future if the opportunity presents itself once again for you to try out Sassicaia, just give the wine one more chance. Don’t let a bad bottle and the bad policies of a retailer turn you away from a great wine. I had Sassicaia a couple of times and, much like Solaia, it is just wonderful.
    Again, very sorry for this bad experience.

    • Stefano,
      Thanks so much for your nice words.
      The behavior of Sokolin makes no sense. I used to buy lots of wine there for lots of money. I’m sure I was a “good” client for them. But they need to learn how to treat customers. If I would have bought some unknown wine for $10 then maybe I would have understood that they won’t take a cheap wine back. But Sassicaia? it’s one the most reputable wines. Maybe Tenuta San Guido will be able to help me here. A quality winery should stand by their product.
      I will try other quality wines in the near future and will let things settle with Sassicia. There are many other great wines out there and the next time I buy wine I will make sure that the store takes spoiled wine back 🙂

  6. Italian wine dinner part 2 – Wine Talks

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