The vineyard which produces this wine was planted in 1991 with Merlot, Cabernet, Sangiovese and Syrah with the intention of expressing an affirmation of the highest quality from the Bordelaise Varietals planted in Bolgheri, combined with the elegance and round softness which can be derived from Sangiovese and Syrah, planted in this hot Mediterranean climate. The grapes are harvested in full maturity : first the Merlot ( in the beginning of September ), then Syrah, Sangiovese and finally Cabernet. The fermentation and maceration of each variety is handled separately in wooden barrels with the cap pushed down daily. This takes place over a period of twenty days. Immediately following the pressing, the wines are placed into barriques as well as larger wooden barrels, where upon the assemblage is eventually created. The wine rests for a period of twelve months.
It’s such a welcome occurrence when an old friend surprises you - one you thought had left your life for good. Last night, in an attempt to reconcile thoughts, memories and smiles from my recent summer abroad (let’s not forget near tragedy in the Luberon – storms, wild boars, yikes!) my mind returned to this pair of darling Bolgheri stablemates time and again. If there’s a poster-child for the potential and resonance of coastal Tuscany, a topic for any speaker’s corner that wishes to stress the “small and special” beauty of the Bolgheri environs (in this case, Castagneto Carducci), Michelle Satta’s pair of high-end 1999 vintage wines gives all the evidence required. I recall offering both the 1999 Cavaliere and Piastraia 10 or 11 years ago and I'm sure a number of you still have bottles from us in your cellar. I said goodbye to the last of my personal stash a few years ago but, as I’ve come to learn, that was a big mistake. On an evening in early August, when a gracious collector from Italy offered to act as my host, he asked which of his 23,000 bottles I would like to taste (23,000!). As I usually do, I told him to choose and he did. If it means anything, out of an incredible trove of wine that charts from all corners and dates to 1940, he pulled the Satta 1999’s. Telling indeed. Not to be swayed by the occasion (which is part of my job - to remain courteous but impartial), I allowed each wine to breathe for an hour and over the the following 8. Both are stellar. Without brow-beating a subject that (truth be told) requires few adjectives, my best advice is to experience this original parcel over an evening or weekend when you have the luxury of time. Even though they beg to be sipped (gulped?), do not rush things – allow each to come to you over a laid-back occasion when the interaction with oxygen allows the freshness of superb provenance to work its magic. Both examples are at peak (Piastraia) or near peak (Cavaliere) - they are wonderful to drink this fall/winter as aged but still youthful and stoic examples of the nobility that can be achieved in this area of Tuscany (when the wine is allowed to do the talking instead of the wood or technique). The alcohols are low 13.0-13.5%, the aromatics simply lovely and each has a unique personality that plays off the other (the Cavaliere is more powerful and aromatic, the Piastraia more whimsical). I found myself going back to both throughout that memorable night, even after my collector friend opened several other bottles, including old vintages of Solaia, Sassicaia and Tignanello. For the $ and overall intrigue, the pair of 1999 Satta wines stole the show. This is an original parcel of 1999 Satta – it has the finest provenance available. FIRST COME FIRST SERVED up to 6 x 2-packs (one full case/6 of each wine) until we run out: 1999 Michelle Satta 2-Pack (Castagneto Carducci/Bolgheri)- $118.70 1 – Cavaliere 1 – Piastraia Community notes: http://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?Table=Notes&szSearch=1999+satta (side bar: this is an incidence where price shopping is almost irrelevant – this parcel has the type of freshness that does not come around very often for 10+ year old wine. None of the bottles have been sitting on a retailer shelf for years or are odd-ball auction bottles with unknown history – I am passionate about this because there is a difference between apples and oranges – price tells a very small side of the story) drink 2012+ (be sure allow at least 30 minutes of oxygen for each).
Wine Spectator(2000 Vintage) Rating: 88/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 10/31/02.