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Super Tuscans


We often associate the term Super Tuscans with some great wines such as Sassicaia, Ornellaia or Tignanello. But do you know the story behind the term Super Tuscan?

Bolgheri – Sassicaia

In the 1920s, a student from Pisa, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, dreamed of creating a purebred wine. His ideal, as for the aristocracy of the time, was Bordeaux....


We often associate the term Super Tuscans with some great wines such as Sassicaia, Ornellaia or Tignanello. But do you know the story behind the term Super Tuscan?

Bolgheri – Sassicaia

In the 1920s, a student from Pisa, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, dreamed of creating a purebred wine. His ideal, as for the aristocracy of the time, was Bordeaux. In the 1940s, he decided to plant Cabernet Sauvignon on the family estate in Tenuta San Guido. No one had ever thought of making a "Bordeaux" type wine in this unknown region from a viticultural point of view.

He had noticed the great similarities in terroirs between this region of Tuscany and the Graves region of Bordeaux. Graves, whose soil is composed mainly of gravel and stone, gave the idea of the name Sassicaia. Sasso simply means "stone" in Italian.

In 1948 the first production of Sassicaia was produced, which was only tasted and drunk with family and friends who were connoisseurs. Every year a few cases were set aside. The Marquis soon realised the strong ageing potential of his wine. The first vintage to be marketed was 1968 under the name "Sassicaia - vino da tavola". In 1994, this vintage obtained its own appellation "Sassicaia Bolgheri DOC".


Bolgheri - Ornellaia

The Marquis Ludovico Antinori founded Tenuta dell'Ornellaia in 1981. He wanted to produce a modern wine and planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc to start with. The first grape harvest to be marketed took place in 1985. It was an immediate success.

Very quickly, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia established itself as one of the largest producers in Italy and brought on the market a 100% Merlot wine that quickly became a world reference: Masseto.


Chianti – Tignanello

Known mainly for its Chiantis until the 1970s, this region was to experience a real wine revolution when Marchesi Antinori bottled his first 'Tignanello'. Composed of a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, this wine was a real upheaval and challenged the established order. Indeed, the rules of the DOC appellation of the Chianti area were, at that time, extremely restrictive. The blend could only contain a maximum of 70% Sangiovese and a minimum of 10% of another white grape variety. International grape varieties were totally banned and all producers who deviated from these rules could not mention the name Chianti and had to classify their wine as "Vino da Tavola".

During this period, Tuscan winemakers finally realised that the rules governing the Chianti appellation were too restrictive and therefore decided to start making and marketing new types of wine that defied regional traditions and regulatory requirements! It was only a few years later, in the 1980s, that the term Super-Tuscan was coined and used to describe a very high quality Tuscan red blend of international grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.


GOOD TO KNOW...

The term "Super-Tuscan" is not an official designation and will not appear on wine bottles; therefore, look for the classification "Toscana IGT" as this will be indicated on the label! Note that IGT wines are available all over Italy. The idea is the same: use a variety of native as well as non-native grapes! Italy's most prestigious and top-of-the-range wines can be found in the Toscana IGT appellation or have a specific appellation such as "Bolgheri DOC Superiore" or even "Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC".

In conclusion, the term "Super-Tuscan" refers to an Italian wine produced in Tuscany with international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.

For the record, indications concerning Cabernet Sauvignon have been found in official documents dating back to 1716 authorising the production of Carmignano wine with this grape variety. In fact, the Medici family had already imported Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux at that time to plant it in their Barco Reale estate in Carmignano. Carmignano could therefore be the first Super-Tuscan...

The best known producers of Super Tuscans :

Tenuta San Guido - Sassicaia

Tenuta dell Ornellaia Ornellaia, Masseto

Antinori - Tignanello, Solaia


Our best Super Tuscans of the Toscana IGT appellation :

Orma

Oreno

Gioveto

Silvana

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