Ever wonder the origin of Super Tuscan? It’s funny name, isn’t it? Well, it has nothing to do with Superman for sure. The birth of Super Tuscan had a lot to do with global economic change in the post WWII era.
In the 1950s, Italian economy was completely devastated. Most people could not afford expensive wines, Tuscan wines were mainly produced for the local mass market and the regulations were set up for such purpose. Yet, in the 1960s, a group of revolutionaries in Tuscany were not happy with the rules. Particularly, they didn’t want to make wines using only local grape varietals, including some white grape called Malvasia which produced wines for easy and immediate consumption.
They began experimenting a style similar to high quality Bordeaux-blend. In addition to local grape (Sangiovese), they would put in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The result was extraordinary! This revolutionary approach created a complete new category of Tuscan wines. With superb quality, the wines gained instant popularity in United States and globally, and were able to charge a much higher price. Super Tuscan was since then born to be a unique class of fine wine from Italy.
These winemakers wouldn’t give a damn whether they can be classified as the best (DOCG) or second best (DOC) level under the Italian system. In fact they were degraded to the lowest level called VDT (Vino da Tavola) in the 1980s! (The true Italian spirit, break the rules but do what you think it’s right…)
To accommodate growing popularity and demand for Super Tuscan, Italian government finally gave in and introduced another classification in 1992 called IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) which denotes the geographic origin of a wine, a classification mostly used by Super Tuscans.
There are nowadays many Super Tuscans, most world-renowned ones include Tignanello, Solaia, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto, etc. While some customers see these simply as Bordeaux copycat, many of these fine Super Tuscans have mastered the use of varietals found in Bordeaux-blend and produce wines of top-quality but expressing their very own character. In 1978, Sassicaia already won the blind tasting held in London as the best made Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the world.
Our featured wine, Ornellaia 1998 was ranked no. 1 in the Top 100 list of Wine Spectator, higher ranked than Ch. Cheval Blanc and scored higher than Ch. Lafite Rothchild.
Give it a try. I am sure you would appreciate the revolutionary thinking behind these superb winemakers.