The biddies kick off the new year with some favorites, Super Tuscans! Learn about the big three – Sassichaia, Ornellaia, and Sassichaia – as well as some more affordable options. Learn why they’re cool and how to spot them in the store.
Episode 7 – Sangiovese
Episode 56 – Wine from Tuscany
Episode 53 – The Barolo Wars
- Society of Wine Educators, Certified Specialist of Wine
- Wine Folly, Unofficial Star of Italy: Super Tuscan Wine
- Wine-Searcher, 10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Tignanello
- Wine Enthusiast, What Is a Super Tuscan?
- The Grand Wine Tour, What Makes the Wines of Bolgheri Superior?
- Image credit
These are our actual notes for the podcast – some of which has been copy and pasted from our source sites listed right above.
- DOC wine system introduced in the 1960s and modelled after the French appellation system
- Origins began in the 1970s when winemakers became frustrated with some of the rules and regulations of making wine (primarily Chianti) in Tuscany
- Big names: Tignanello, Sassichaia and Ornellaia – became favorites of wine critics in the 1980s
- First marketed as vino da tavola
- 1992 received Super Tuscan IGT – super tuscans are considered to be some of the best IGT wines
IGT – Indicazione Geograpfica Tipica
- This category was created in 1992 in response to winemakers who felt that the DOC/DOCG designations involved excessive restrictions (Super Tuscan IGT)
- Such as not being able to use certain grape varieties in blends
- They thought they’d be able to create higher qualities wines outside of the designations/restrictions
- If they didn’t comply, the wines would just be classified as vino da tavola and be perceived as lower quality
- First wines of this category were called Super Tuscan because they were from Tuscany and were high quality and limited production although this “style” originated in the 1980s before the category was created
- This was a big shake up to the wine industry in Italy, and especially interesting due to its long viticultural history
- James Suckling says there could be several sources
- Luigi Veronelli – Italian wine/food writer
- Burton Anderson – a writer who moved to Tuscany in 1977
- David Gleave – a MW and one of the UK’s leading exerts on Italy
- Describes red wines from Tuscany that may include non-indigenous grapes particularly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
- Influence comes from Bordeaux
- Most famous super Tuscan was called “Tignanello” and was created by Antinori in 1971 and it was also the first
- Today blend is 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cab Sav, 5% Cab Franc
- Roughly $80/bottle
- The flavor ranges quite a bit – super does not mean bold and heavy
- Tignanello was the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques
- the first contemporary red wine blended with untraditional varieties (specifically Cabernet)
- one of the first red wines in the Chianti Classico region that didn’t use white grapes.
- Antinori family been making wine since 1385
- Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Guild of Vintners in 1385
- Machis: the man who made his dream a realization was legendary winemaker Giacomo Tachis.
- Heavily influenced and inspired by the French enologist Emile Peynard, Tachis was responsible for Antinori’s entire production by 1966
- Sidenote: Meghan Markle’s old lifestyle blog was called “the tig”
- Sassicaia, made at Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri, translates from Italian to “stony place.” It’s a reference to the area’s gravelly soils that are considered evocative of Graves and Haut-Médoc in Bordeaux.
- The French wine-loving Incisa della Rocchetta family wanted to plant Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc instead of Sangiovese. The family released the first vintage of Sassicaia in 1968.
- In 1978, Decanter magazine organized a blind tasting, and it slipped Sassicaia in among top Bordeaux. The obscure wine beat out much of the competition, only to be revealed as Italian.
- Bolgheri Sassicaia earned an independent DOC in 2013.
- Ornellaia, located near Sassicaia, was planted by Lodovico Antinori in 1981. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the first vintage was bottled in 1985.
- Now make Masseto, a single varietal Merlot in the style of Pomerol
HOW TO FIND A SUPER TUSCAN
- The Toscana IGT classification ties all Super Tuscans together and will always be on the label
- There are IGT Italian wines from all over Italy but this designation will make sure you know you are getting a Super Tuscan
- Another way to figure it out is to look for “named wines” on lists or on labels and will usually have quotations around the name
- Ex: Della Vite “Lucente” Tuscana
- Use this instead of the variety or region on the bottle
- Labels will also include the Winery, Wine Name, Region, Classification, and Family Name
- Can also look for Bolgheri DOC
- Super Tuscans of Bolgheri have their own production rules being granted a D.O.C. in 1994.
- Each bottle can contain up to 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Cabernet Franc.
- Or, up to 50% Syrah or Sangiovese, and blended with a complimentary grape such as Petit Verdot (up to 30%).
- For Superiore labels, a wine must also be aged for at least two years with a minimum of one year in oak barrels.
- Fifty-two wineries now operate in Bolgheri.
- Many are boutique, small in size and independently owned.
TENUTA di SESTA POGGIO d’ARNA TOSCANA
- This wine is created from a blend of (40%) Sangiovese, (30%) Merlot and (30%) Cabernet Franc and is aged for one year in French Allier barriques and 15 hl Slavonian oak barrels.
- French Allier barriques for 6 months and Slovenian oak barrel of 30-35 hl for 6 months.