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Super Tuscan Wine: The Unofficial Star of Italy


The term super Tuscan was introduced in the early 1980’s. It is a blend of Tuscan reds. What makes this Tuscan wine different from others of the region? They use wine grapes that are not indigenous to Italy. Learn about super Tuscan wine and how to seek them out.

What is a Super Tuscan?

“Super Tuscan” is a term used to decribe red wines from Tuscany that may include the use of non-indigenous grapes, particularly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The creation of super Tuscan wines was a result of the frustration winemakers had towards a slow bureaucracy in changing the wine law of Italy during the 1970’s. Winemakers began mixing ‘unsanctioned’ wine varieties (like Merlot) into their blends to make high quality wines. The legal system eventually yielded in 1992 with the creation of IGT, a new designation that gave winemakers the ability to be more creative.

The First Super Tuscan Wine

The most famous super Tuscan wine is called ‘Tignanello’ and was created by Antinori in 1971. It was the first super Tuscan wine and today Tignanello is a blend of 80% Sangiovese 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Tignanello commands about $80 a bottle, but you can find many other great valued super Tuscan wines today. Let’s find out how.

How to Identify a Super Tuscan Wine

There’s a bit of a misnomer as to what a super Tuscan wine is because the flavor profile ranges quite a bit. You can find everything from fruity and racy 100% Sangiovese-based wines to deep, opulent Syrah-based wines. What ties them together is the use of the Toscana IGT classification and this notation will always be on the label.

Another strange but effective way of sussing out a super Tuscan on a wine list is to look for “named” wines. Named wines have parentheses around the names, such as Luce Della Vite “Lucente” Toscana. Many producers use an original name instead of a variety (e.g. Sangiovese) or region (e.g. Brunello di Montalcino) name on the bottle. If you know a little Italian, you’ll be able to pick these out without any difficulty. Veni, vidi, vici!


Article source: Wine Folly