Did Sassicaia get cuttings from Lafite? Yes or No?

I'm going through the CIA textbook Exploring Wines - a fairly venerable book 'round these parts even if it is getting a bit dated at 10 years old.  I read today that Rocchetta took cuttings from Lafite Rothschild to make Sassicaia.  I've heard this a bunch of times i.e. a Decanter article from 2015.  However, Tenuta San Guido's own website says they came from a 50 year old vineyard near Pisa. 

What gives?  Can anyone tell me the story?  Did the good Marchese spread rumors in order to sell his wine?  Did customers hear that he was inspired by Bordeaux and sort of fill in some gaps erroneously?  Wikipedia says the son Nicolo came clean in 2009.  I'd just like to hear the back story. 

I'm considering adding this to my list of "wine's biggest falsehoods" right behind sulfites cause headaches and they don't use chemicals in France.  


  • Just curious. Whats the purpose of finding out other than OCD (which I share)? Does it matter where the cuttings came from all those years ago? Is the list just to call people out? Or to define truth? Only curious what your motive is.  Not disagreeing here.

  • Not offended or anything.  Curiosity sure.  Maybe OCD.  More correctly, I don't want to tell someone the wrong thing.

    I am a university professor in the hospitality department.  I've started teaching the Wines & Spirits class and this is the textbook that they use.  This is my first semester with this class so I've been reading the book as well.  The France chapter seemed good as far as I could tell.  The book is 10 years old so it didn't talk about the St. Emilion classification of 2012, only 2006. 

    However, when I got to Italy, I found several mistakes (i.e. sangiovese requirement for vino nobile says max 70%).  With most of the mistakes I could verify the correct answer independently however I do not have a definitive source for this question.  Some very venerable authorities say they came from Lafite but San Guido's own website said they don't.  I want to be correct when I tell my students. 

    Call it OCD if you want.  I'm almost more surprised than anything.  Granted, no textbook is perfect and people make mistakes (even editors) but I've always really respected the CIA and their books.  I would expect very few mistakes from them.  If they tell this story, I almost want to believe it but that disagrees directly with San Guido.  

  • "However, when I got to Italy, I found several mistakes"

    As you continue your study and teachings in wine, I predict you'll come back to this statement....repeatedly. 

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