Super Tuscan Wines

Beer and Wine, Drinks, How-To, Wine 101
on February 1, 2009
Super Tuscan Wines
Mark Boughton Photogrpahy / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Q. What's a Super Tuscan wine?

A. Super Tuscans are flashy, modern red wines from Tuscany, Italy, made by winemakers who scoff at the idea of using only traditional, local grape varieties. Instead of clinging exclusively to neighborhood favorites, such as Sangiovese—star of the region's famous Chianti—these rebels often incorporate “foreign” varieties into their wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are among the interlopers frequently cropping up in Super Tuscan wines, both in blends and single variety wines.

So, how do you identify a Super Tuscan? “Super Tuscan” isn't an official designation, so you probably won't see those words anywhere on the bottle. But you are likely to run across the letters IGT, along with the Italian word for Tuscany—Toscana or Toscano. Some of the most famous Super Tuscan wines are Sassicaia, Tignanello, and Ornellaia.

—Charles Smothermon, a food and wine writer in Laurin, Mont.