Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Bolgheri, small town in the Tuscan maremma made famous by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines for a house wine as early as the 1940s on his San Guido estate, labelling the resulting wine sassicaia. Bizarrely, the DOC created for Bolgheri in 1983 was only for whites and rosé, but it was amended in 1994 to include red wine and the subzone Sassicaia was created. Prior to this Sassicaia had to be labelled as vino da tavola, but due to its high quality it became known as a supertuscan, spawning many copies throughout Tuscany. The success of Sassicaia, Grattamacco (first vintage 1982), and ornellaia (1985) triggered an investment frenzy in the region, which expanded from 250 ha/618 acres at the end of the 1990s to more than 1,000 ha/2,470 acres in 2010 when it was home to more than 50 wine estates. The proximity to the sea gives a more temperate climate than that found in the central Tuscan hills, resulting in grapes that ripen earlier, often before the autumn rains arrive.