1985 Sassicaia. 1997 Solaia. 1994 Messorio. 2000 Tua Rita Redigaffi. 2004 Masseto. 1990 Ornellaia.
The invitation from an old friend now living in Washington DC was too good to pass up: An opportunity to taste Super Tuscans with elite collectors boasting cellars full of the world’s top wines. A short hop down the Northeast Corridor to our nation’s capital on a frigid March night seemed more than worth it.
Stepping off the Amtrak at Union Station and climbing into the warmed-up Uber waiting for us, we went over our notes. The group had themed tastings every two months. New members must be invited in. “Interesting collection of oenophiles,” our friend had said, and he was right. A textile importer. Philosophy professor. An advisor to a powerful former U.S. Senator. The owner of a seafood distributor. A guy with a university stadium named after him. All with deep cellars.
After a quick 10-minute drive, we spotted our host waiting for us on the corner. A brisk two-block walk later, we arrived at a nondescript warehouse. We would learn that it stores wine for dozens of DC’s heavy hitters. Security waved us in.
Deep in the bowels of the warehouse we found a large antique dinner table prepared with oversized Zalto glasses and high-end Italian wine. On that table lay a collection of Super Tuscans that would light up an auction: 1985 Sassicaia. 1997 Solaia. 1994 Messorio. 2000 Tua Rita Redigaffi. 2004 Masseto. 1990 Ornellaia.
But, true to the club’s tradition, the lineup that night included a curveball. A wine that stood out, that didn’t quite belong with the others. We were astounded to find that the curveball was this 2014 Sapaio “Volpolo” Bolgheri Rosso. An under-$30 bottle holding its own alongside Tuscany’s biggest stars? We were stunned. Excusing ourselves, we made our way toward the bathroom. We fired off a quick email to HQ and were back at the table in four minutes. The next day we closed the deal.
This past October, we offered the “Volpolo” to our members — all 50 cases of our allocation sold out by lunchtime. The big brother Grand Vin of the wine that so stood out in that illustrious DC lineup is up for grabs today — the 2012 “Sapaio” Bolgheri Super Tuscan.
A sumptuous blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Dark ruby in color and gushing with freshly picked blackberries and cassis, tinged with leather and olive notes. Extremely well-chiseled and concentrated black cherry and blackberry fruit mingles with sandalwood and cedar spice. This Tuscan Bordeaux blend combines the richness of a Napa Cabernet twice the price with the structure of a stunning Left Bank Bordeaux from a ripe vintage. Approachable now with an ample 30-45 minute decant, but don’t hesitate to tuck this away for another 5 to 8 years.
James Suckling, longtime European bureau chief for Wine Spectator, gave this “refined and silky” wine 94 points. Praising Podere Sapaio for “a great job with this vintage,” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate pinned on 93 points, “quite taken” by this “Sapaio” Bolgheri Super Tuscan’s “thick, creamy texture.” In short, Podere Sapaio is no secret to those following the best of what Tuscany has to offer.
$75 on release. Just $52.99 per bottle, and you don’t even need to belong to an elite tasting club. Just 40 cases while they last.
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