Super Tuscans are an unofficial category of Tuscan wines. The term was coined in the 1970’s by Italian wine producer and wine critics for wine produced with grapes that are not part of the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) identification and classification system control by Italian law.
The practices of the Chianti zone prior to the 1990s gave rise to the Super Tuscans. At this time Chianti had to be made to exact specification of no more than 70% Sangiovese and had to include at least 10% of one of the local white wine grapes. It was the producers who deviated from these strict regulations and were unable to use the Chianti on their wine labels and were given Italy’s lowest wine designation of Vino da Tavola.
The wine producer in Tusany thought they could produce better quality wine if they did not have to adhere to the strict DOC regulation. Wines started to be created with a “Chianti-style” wine that ignored the DOC regulation. Wines such as Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend known as Tignanello were created and soon other producers followed suit. The Super Tuscans consistently beat the price of some of the most well known Chianti on the market. The Super Tuscans producers created a wine brand that would be recognisable on its own merits because it was not able to rely on the name recognition of the Chianti region. The trend quickly spread outside the Chianti region to other regions of Tuscany, as well as Piedmont and Veneto.
Most Super Tuscans producers have now been brought back under legal regulations, most notably since the creation of the less restrictive IGT Toscana designation in 1992 and the DOC Bolgheri designation in 1994.
Here are a couple of Super Tuscans wines recommended by G&O