What Are Super Tuscans?
Did you know Super Tuscans were once sold as table wine? Read on to explore the meaning of Super Tuscan, the history of the term, the hidden meanings behind the term and ways to identify these wines. Moreover, explore three top wine clubs where you can safely order Super Tuscans directly to your door.
The Definition of Super Tuscans
The crystal-clear definition of Super Tuscan is wines made from a blend of grapes such as Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah that are non-native to Tuscany in Italy.
When Marquis Incisa della Rocchetta moved to Tuscany, he tried planting Bordeaux-style grapes as compared to the predominant Sangiovese varietal in Tuscany. Inspiration was drawn from the Classic Chianti from 1809 of Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who had made wine from 70% Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Malvasia grapes.
Rocchetta planted Cabernet Franc while Rocchetta’s nephew and oenologist suggested the addition of the Bordeaux grape varietal Cabernet Franc. He made the wine Sassicaia, the predecessor to Super Tuscans. It was Rocchetta’s nephew Antinori who made the first ‘Super Tuscan’ in 1971 with a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc called ‘Tiaganello’.
Why Are They Called Super Tuscans?
While Rocchetta wanted to make a new type of Tuscan wine distinguishable from the classic Chianti, with Tiaganello also launching, it expanded the blends of Tuscan winemakers.
However, as the wine deviated from the traditional winemaking techniques for Classic Chianti, it was not given the high-tier classification of DOCG, which is given to wines made from indigenous grapes. Super Tuscans are non-DOCG Tuscan wines made from non-indigenous varietals.
By breaking the traditional norms of winemaking, Super Tuscans were categorized as table wine, which led to the introduction of a different classification, called IGT classification in 1992.
After its wide reception in Italy, these wines became popular in the US, where they were nicknamed Super Tuscans. Other sources say the term might have been popularized by UK wine expert David Gleave or Burton Anderson, the Italian food and wine writer.
How To Identify Super Tuscan Wines
Understanding the bottle characteristics of Super Tuscans as shown below will help predict more about the wine inside it.
- Winery: The name of the winery is usually written on the top in bold font and brand colors.
- Wine name: It is typical for Super Tuscan wine to have a different unique name.
- Region: The place where the wine is made such as ‘Toscana’.
- Classification: Super Tuscans made in Italy will usually carry the seal of IGT on the bottle.
- Family name: As Tuscan wineries are branched into multiple families, you can try Super Tuscans from different estates.
The trick to identify Super Tuscans is by their blending proportions.
For instance, Saffredi Fattoria Le Pupille has 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with 10% of Alicante while Solaia Marchesi Antinori has 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc.
You can also select them by their wine region to taste the terroir. Winemaker and vintage are other ways to pick the right Super Tuscan wine.
Which Wine Clubs Carry Super Tuscans?
Established in 1982, Wine Insiders is a unique wine club that offers three magnums Super Tuscan blend Poggio Manfredi Toscana Rosso I.G.T. Magnum Trio at $149.97, made from 50% each of Sangiovese and Merlot varietals.
Laithwaites Wine Club
Made by the Tuscan winemaker Sofia Barbanera, Saracosa 2018 is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet that gives you notes of Bordeaux and Chianti at once. This deep scarlet Super Tuscan is from the Toscana region and is priced at $14.99 on Laithwaites.
Winc Wine Club
Another Tuscan bestseller with IGT certification from Italy, Winc offers LA Forza 2014 Super Tuscan at $14.99. This fruity and earthy Tuscan favorite is a fusion of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Super Tuscans are a blend of non-indigenous grapes from Tuscany. Typically, a combination of Merlot, Syrah, or Cabernet with Sangiovese, these famed wines can be identified by the Italian IGT classification on the bottle. Consider ordering an affordable cheap Super Tuscan straight to your door from an online wine club like Laithwaites or Winc or a pricey trio from Wine Insiders today.