Have you been wine tasting and someone mentioned the words Super Tuscan? Does that mean it’s a Chianti? Or, is it something else? In fact, what makes a Super Tuscan super?

Healdsburg July 09 017
In doing some research, this is what I found. In Italy there are strict laws governing winemaking. Wines produced in Italy are labeled Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). These labels serve several purposes. For one, they assure quality is maintained. They also make sure regions and grapes are specific and legal winemaking and labeling requirements have been met. What’s the difference between DOC and DOCG? Simply put, add a blind quality taste test and stricter production limits.

In addition, there are two classes of wine in Italy under the Table Wine category: Vino da Tavola (VDT) and Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). The latter is where the Super Tuscans fit in.

Super Tuscans were originally created by winemakers who wanted to skirt the DOC and DOCG rules by creating their own unique blends that did not conform to those rules. They would add cabernet sauvignon, for example, or not add white grapes to their Chianti, which, at the time, was standard practice.

I did find several articles mentioning that the first Super Tuscans, namely Sassicaia and Tignanello, weren’t actually created until the late 60s and early 70s. This is interesting to me as the wine history in Italy goes back many, many centuries.