2017 Le Difese, Tenuta San Guido, Tuscany, Italy
"The 2017 Le Difese (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese) meets its immediate goals as an entry level red. This is an easy-drinking Tuscan blend from a warm vintage that shows dark, ripe fruit nuances over a short and lean mouthfeel." Monica Larner. Drink 2019-2023.
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese is named after the teeth of the wild boar which roam the Tuscan hills.
The Le Difese is generally 30% Sangiovese and 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, thus combining the characteristics of the former with the depth of the latter. The resulting wine is delicious and is to be savoured as soon as the wine is released and for the following couple of years.
Within the estate of Tenuta San Guido, in the hills close to the Tuscan coast, between Livorno and Grosseto, are some beautiful, historical buildings, including the Castiglioncello di Bolgheri, a retreat which dates back to AD 780, and the Oratorio di San Guido, the 1803 church at the end of a classic Tuscan avenue of tall cypresses.
However, it was in the early 20th century that even more historic foundations were established on the Tenuta San Guido estate. When he acquired the property in the 1930s, the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta noted the similarity between the stony ground of his land, as well as the sea breezes coming in off the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the terroir of Graves in Bordeaux. When planting began in the 1940s, he opted primarily for Cabernet Sauvignon, rather than the province’s dominant Sangiovese grape. For several decades, the Bordeaux-style wine produced from that Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Cabernet Franc, was a strictly private treat. But when, in 1968, Sassicaia wine was finally released to the world, it revolutionised Italian wine, creating a new genre: the Super-Tuscan.
It was the Marchese’s son Nicolò who pushed for the move to commercial production, along with his cousin and nephew Piero Antinori (who also happened to be a member of a longer established winemaking family). They called on the expertise of the late Giacomo Tachis, who introduced innovations such as a switch to fermentation in steel but ageing en barrique. Soon, Sassicaia wine established the region’s reputation and led to the 1994 declaration of the DOC Bolgheri.
The 21st century has seen further development under Marchese Nicolò. The estate has pursued a number of new projects, including converting an old olive press into a new cantina and the production of two further wines: Guidalberto and Le Difese.