The wine world is mourning the loss of Giacomo Tachis, one of Italy’s most celebrated enologists, who passed away on Saturday, February 6, at the age of 82.
Born in Piedmont, Tachis—a graduate of Alba’s Enological School—is most associated with Tuscany and Sardinia. Thanks to his pioneering vision, Tachis is the man behind some of the country’s most lauded wines, including Tignanello, Turriga and Solaia. He also had a crucial role in perfecting Sassicaia.
The brainchild of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, Mario brought in Tachis (who was working for his nephew, Piero Antinori) as a consultant to gradually increase production while keeping quality high, and to ensure that the wine would stand up to being exported globally. Thanks to Tachis’s collaboration, the 1968 Sassicaia debuted in 1971 and is credited as the original Super Tuscan.
Tachis is best known for his position as Managing Director of Antinori, a role he held from 1961 to 1992. His innovative spirit helped overhaul how wine was made in Italy at the time by introducing cutting edge techniques including temperature-controlled fermentation, malolactic fermentation and aging in barriques. He also changed how vineyards were managed, especially in Tuscany, and encouraged growers to use the spurred cordon training method and to plant south-facing vines.
After retiring from his position in 1992, Tachis became a full-time consultant enologist and, in the course of his career, turned out some of Italy’s greatest wines. He continued to consult for Antinori and other Tuscan clients, including Tenuta San Guido of Sassicaia fame. He also put Sardinian wine on the map, working with Santadi and Argiolas.
Additionally, Tachis collaborated with Diego Planeta at Sicily’s Istituto Della Vite e Vino and worked with Donnafugata, where his research and commitment to quality was fundamental for the rebirth of Sicilian wine.
Tachis retired to his home in San Casciano Val di Pesa in Tuscany in 2010.