Tuesday 2 November 2010

Super Tuscan wines: what are super Tuscan wines?

For many visitors to Tuscany, our wines are one of the things they plan to enjoy while they are here. No doubt that's also why I fairly frequently hear the question: What are Super Tuscan wines ?

The answer is very simple but with interesting ramifications - super Tuscan wines are wines made in Tuscany that are very good to drink and that do not conform to one of the standard wine compositions - meaning the percentage of certain grapes used to make the wine.

Super tuscan wine
Sassicaia - the first and one of the greatest Super Tuscans.
The Super Tuscans originated in the 50's and 60's when Chianti wine was not all that good - indeed, when it was plonk, and when there were even growers who proposed to rip up all the vines and put cows on the Chianti hills instead. That's how low morale had fallen. However, coincident with the introduction of modern wine-making techniques, a few lateral thinkers decided to grow non-native grapes and make blends with sangiovese, the best of the autochthonous Tuscan grape varieties, and in some cases the results were phenomenally good. Since then, the wine consortia that set the composition rules have become more flexible but nevertheless there are still excellent wines with grape composition outside the rules. These are designated IGT (the former "Vino da Tavola"). Most are good, some are outstanding, but remember that some are also indifferent. There's nothing on the bottle to guide you. You need to do some tasting and also read the wine reviews to know which Tuscan wines are super Tuscans and which are still simply just table wines. They don't have to be expensive (although the famous ones are very expensive) because there are more and more super Tuscan wines out there waiting to be discovered.

More about Super Tuscan wines.

More about the new Chianti Classico top quality designation.

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