Wines of the Week: Muré & Tenuta San Guido

Muré 2016 Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles Clos Saint Landelin 97
Tenuta San Guido 2021 Sassicaia Bolgheri Sassicaia 100
by Ian D’Agata

Muré 2016 Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles Clos Saint Landelin              97

Thomas and Veronique Muré are the sibling duo currently running this venerable Alsace estate having taken over from their father René in — . Therefore, at Muré it is now — the generation and counting and the estate has continued to make splendid wines, as this marvellous late harvest, noble rot-affected wine attests so well.

Deep yellow with golden tinges. Complex aromas of caramel, baked apple pie, cinnamon, pear cordial, tropical fruit and strawberry jelly are complemented by strong hints of spicy botrytis. Rich, layered and luscious, but with remarkable verve  for such a big thick textured wine, this boasts vibrant acidity that helps leave a sensation of lightness and neatly extends the flavours on the extremely long, suave concentrated back end. The Clos Saint Landelin near Rouffach in the southern part of the Alsace wine zone is a monopole of the Muré family and it has always been associated with outstanding Pinot Gris wines (I well remember the fantastic 1983 Pinot Gris SGN made by René Muré). The Clos is located within the confines of the Vorbourg grand cru, and its Pinot Gris wines are of a richness and of a complexity level like I am betting you have most likely never had, or rarely had, before. This is still remarkably young and though it is already irresistible, it will live another thirty years without problems. Drinking window: 2026-2050.

Tenuta San Guido 2021 Sassicaia Bolgheri Sassicaia            100

San Guido rarely if ever makes a bad wine: in those years where the weather really doesn’t cooperate much, a lighter, more politely-styled wine might be made (see the delicious 2020 Sassicaia) but one that is still heads and shoulders above in quality compared to most other red wines made in Bolgheri and the rest of Italy.

Then in vintages were all the wine stars align, such as for example the 1985, 1988, and 2016, the outcome is truly magical, and this is precisely the case of the 2021 Sassicaia. To be clear, the 2021 Sassicaia is one of the best young wines at a similar stage of development the estate has made in years. It is a paragon of balance and freshness. What it lacks in the brute power of the memorable 2016, it makes up for with a ballerina-like gracefulness and a balance that is enchanting. Clearly all those weaned on behemoths will be less impressed by this wine compared to many liquid sledgehammers, but the point is that refinement and balance do not have to take a back seat to more obvious, even somewhat vulgar, attributes. About the only bad news with this wine is the small volumes produced, given the very large crop reduction (the result of early season weather adversity: frost hit on March 18 when the buds were already out in full force) and barrels having to be eliminated because of traces of gaminess in a few of them. But hunt it down and cellar it away for a good twelve years before even thinking of opening a bottle, then get ready to enjoy one of the more graceful, elegant Sassicaia wines in year (and that’s saying quite something, given that this wine essentially has defined elegance in Italian wine circles for the past forty years).

Bright, medium deep red-ruby. Fresh aromas of balsamic oils, then more minty eucalyptus, lavender and juniper complicate the lively, perfumed blackcurrant and mineral aromas on the enticing nose. Then extremely vibrant and lively, but boasting remarkable balance with a near-perfect fruit/tannin/acidity ratio and an inviting saline note that rises like the froth of waves smashing against the docks on a cold winter seaside morning. Very precise, penetrating flavours of red and dark berries, honey, coffee, toast and bergamot linger nicely on the extremely long, refreshing finish. This famous Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wine blend is undoubtedly rich and dense but has a vitality and a lift that is truly uncommon for the best red wines made with these two grape varieties. Deceptively easy to drink already now, this will age far better than most people I know. Drinking window: 2029-2065.

Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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Ian D'Agata