A Supertuscan is not a wine but a category of wines, and as the name implies, red wines made in Tuscany.
If you have watched Andrea’s video you may recall Andrea describing the Italian appellation system as very restrictive and limiting for Italian winemakers, while not fulfilling its mission, guarantee the quality of Italian wines through their status.
DOC and DOCG wines are not, by definition, better than table wines.
Supertuscany was the then response of Tuscan winemakers to the limitation of the Italian appellation system, to the limitations of DOC and DOCG wines. Winemakers were finally able to create wines according to their and their grapes characteristics and not according to rules written by someone with no knowledge about their vineyards. The first Supertuscan wines were in fact sold as table wine, the only category that allowed the winemaker to really create without any limitation, until 1992 when the IGT category was introduced and table wines disappeared from the labels to be replaced with IGT.
Sassicaia was the wine from which everything started and now every Tuscan producer makes at least one Supertuscan. The success of the category has also been driven by the premium prices consumers were happy to pay for them compared to the other Tuscan wine, with only a few exceptions, such as the Brunello di Montalcino.
A definition of Supertuscan doesn’t exist, Supertuscan were normally blends of Sangiovese
and other grapes, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot
, to Petit Verdot but are now often single grape wines. For the purpose of this guide, a Supertuscan wine can be defined as a red wine made in Tuscany, aged, with a long lifespan, great complexity and structure.