Another success from the Tenuta San Guido estate comes in the form of Le Difese wine. This super Tuscan pioneer has set the standard on great wines and Le Difese like the other offerings, Sassicaia and Guidalberto does not disappoint. The wine producers at Tenuta San Guido are recognized the world over for the quality wines that they produce and for the most part every vintage that they put out is exceptional although some vintages are decidedly better than others. This third offering from the estate is more affordable than the previous two wines but that does not make it any less valuable.

The production is overseen by Sebastiano Rosa just like production of it’s more famous siblings Sassicaia and Guidalberto. It’s made with same passion and care what is clearly visible in the quality of this wine.

The Birth of Led Difese Wine

The reliability and quality of the wines coming out of Tenuta San Guido ensures that every new vintage that they release immediately begin flying off the shelves. Part of the reason for the consistency in the labels that they put out, including Le Difese, is that they don’t conform to latest trends or feel pressured to put out countless labels to fulfill market demands. They let nature and vintage dictate the expression of the wines and that is as true for Sassicaia as it is for the less expensive Le Difese. The wine was born with focus on traditional Sangiovese as its base. The first vintage was produced in 2003.

The label includes wild boar and the name “Le difese” means “defenses”. The defenses are tears of a boar which when attacked immediatelly counter attacks with its teeth – the defenses.

Made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Sangiovese the wine delivers a warm, ripe taste with a seductively soft tannis and burst of freshness. In true Tenuta San Guido style the harvesting is all done by hand with a low yield to maintain the richness of the sugar, tannins and juice extracted from the grapes.

Price

As much as this is a low cost (expect to pay less than $30 or even $20 a bottle) and everyday wine you must recognize that an everyday wine from this particular estate is far superior to the best offerings from many other estates. Available at very few retailers in the US if you’re unable to find it locally your best option would be to purchase online. The small cost of this food friendly wine backed by the unquestionable value that you get in each bottle is the reason why this is such a popular and fast selling wine.

Le Difese wine like Guidalberto can be used while you wait for your bottle of Sassicaia to age but if you can overlook the wine’s immediate appeal and leave to age for a bit you will love it even more. The Sonoma Wine Journal rated the 2009 vintage at 93+ points 6/11.

Production Process

Once harvested the fruits are allowed to ferment in stainless steel vats that are temperature controlled. This lasts for 12 days followed by 12 months of aging in French and American oak barriques (225 litres). The final step involves refining of the wine in their bottles for about three months before they are released.

Le Difese at Present

This wine is also called a baby Sassicaia (or baby Super Tuscan) as it is made from grapes that don’t make it into the legendary wine. So it’s much more affordable, but still excellent wine with unbelievable price to value ratio. However there is also wine from outside Bolgheri DOC used. What is another reason why this wine was born and why it’s such an excellent value. It can be fully enjoyed right after the release but still has potential to get better with aging.

The vintages are exceptionaly balanced what is also backed by ratings be James Suckling, Winespectator (88-90) and others. The latest vintage 2011 already received raved reviews by Hames Suckling and  Antonio Galloni. Full fresh and juicy body, familiar power and structure of Sangiovese and with smooth and creamy finish will drink well in the next few years.

As for collectability this is typical great value “drink now” wine. We still do recommend stocking up on it as just around 10,000 cases is produces for each vintage (120,000 bottles) and sometimes it’s quite hard to be found. Even harder than Sassicaia. But for investment purposes and expected value we recomment it’s older siblings Guidalberto and Sassicaia.

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