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Italian wine and grape guide : Supertuscany

Supertuscany

A Supertuscan is not a wine but a category of wines, and as the name implies, a 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 guaranteeing, ensuring, the quality of Italian wines.

DOC and DOCG wines are not, by definition, better than table or IGT wines.

Supertuscany was the the response of Tuscan winemakers to the limitation of the Italian appellation system, to the limitations of DOC and DOCG wines. Winemakers had decided to cut ties with an outdated system and started creating wines according to their and their grapes characteristics and not according to rules written by someone with no knowledge about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.

Supertuscany came about in the 70, but the actual name came after, to indicate great wines that did not meet the DOC/DOCG requirements. In the 70' and 80' there was great emphasis on the appellation, appellation was synonym with quality, Supertuscany was created to balance the table wine on the label, to tell wine drinkers that these wines were only table wine because did not fit any other category.

Sassicaia was the wine that gave borth to the movement, and nowadays every Tuscan winery makes at least one Supertuscan so that the name itself has lost its original meaning and purpose. 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.

If what you read sounds interesting, below the Supertuscany wine/s we stock