DOC DOCG IGT (Super Tuscans)


IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipical = typical regional wine) wines are, if of a certain quality, also called SUPER TUSCANS. IGT wines can range incredibly in price - from a couple of euro to hundreds of euro. An IGT Toscana guarantees that a minimum of 85% of the grapes used in the wine have grown in the region (this is an insurance that we don't have if we drink a "vino da tavola" which theoretically could come from any part of the world). However, much of the IGT wine is produced with grapes that come from the wine producers' own vineyards, especially when talking of the Super Tuscans that are top quality wines. The grape variety, vinification, aging and final blend are all up to the creativity of the wine maker.

Super Tuscan: Many of the important and famous wines in Tuscany are actually the IGTs. The more expensive wines have since the 70's been called Super Tuscans. This name was invented by Robert Parker who found notable interest in these wines and helped them become famous world wide.

Reading the label: IGT wines have to the indication of the designation on the label, the fantasy propriety name of the wine, for example "Sunset", followed the designation Rosso di Toscana Igt, Bianco di Toscana Igt, or Colli della Toscana Centrale Igt. Furthermore, vintage, bottler must be indicated.

Blend: With the Doc and Docg wines we have an idea of the composition of the wine since the producers have to follow a certain recipe. This is not true for the Igt wines. The blend can be practically anything and it doesn't have to be stated on the label. A Super Tuscan is the final expression of quality and skill of winemaking of a wine producer and his enologist. The wine can be made with any variety of grapes, either blended or pure, and are matured in oak barriques and have a good longevity.

Value: A Super Tuscan is often the signature of the wine-producer; a precious wine that sometimes are difficult to find outside the latest vintage - or even to get a taste of. For this reason the Super Tuscans (just like Brunellos and Barolos) can become a good investment, as their commercial value may double or triple in time.

Some Top Super Tuscans:
(mentioned in chronological order)

(Propriety name by so and so producer, year of first edition, grape varietals:)

by Tenuta San Guido (1968 - cabernet sauvignon & cabernet franc)
Vigorello by San Felice (1968 - sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Tignanello by Antinori (1971 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Le Pergole Torte by Montevertine (1977 - sangiovese)
Solaia by Antinori (1978 - cabernet sauvignon, - franc & sangiovese)
I Sodi di San Niccolò by Castellare di Castellina (1979 - sangiovese & malvasia nera)
Ghiaie della Furba by Capezzana (1979 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & syrah)
Sammarco by Castello dei Rampolla (1980 - cabernet sauvignon)
Cepparello by Isole e Olena (1980 - sangiovese)
Sangioveto by Badia a Coltibuono (1980 - sangiovese)

by Fontodi (1981 - sangiovese)
Camartina by Querciabella (1981 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Grattamacco by Grattamacco (1982 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & sangiovese)

La Gioia by Riecine (1982 - sangiovese)
Cabreo by Cabreo il Borgo (1982 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Nemo by Monsanto (1982 - cabernet sauvignon)

Fontalloro by Felsina (1983 - sangiovese)
Ripa delle More by Vicchiomaggio (1983 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Percarlo by San Giusto a Rentennano (1983 - sangiovese)
Le Stanze by Poliziano (1983 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Bruno di Rocca by Vecchie Terre di Montefili (1983 - cabernet sauvignon & sangiovese)
Boscarelli by Boscarelli (1983 - sangiovese, cab sauv, merlot & petit verdot)

Ornellaia by Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (1984 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & cabernet franc)
Masseto by Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (1985 - merlot)
Stielle by Rocca di Castagnoli (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Geremia by Rocca di Montegrossi (1985 - merlot & cabernet sauvignon)
Summus by Banfi (1985 - cab sauv, sangiovese & syrah)
Veneroso by Tenuta di Ghizzano (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)

Vigna L'Apparita by Castello di Ama (1985 - merlot)
San Martino by Villa Cafaggio (1985 - sangiovese)
Balifico by Castello di Volpaia (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Il Pareto by Tenuta di Nozzole (1985 - cabernet sauvignon)

l Corzano by Corzano & Paterno (1987 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Anfiteatro by Vecchie Terre di Montefili (1987 - sangiovese)
Maestro Raro by Felsina (1987 - cabernet sauvignon)
Saffredi by Le Pupille (1987 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & alicante)
Brancaia il Blu by Brancaia (1988 - sangiovese, merlot & cabernet sauvignon)
Accaiolo by Castello d'Albola (1988 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Avvoltore by Moris Farms (1988 - sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon & syrah)
Desiderio by Avignonesi (1988 - merlot & cab sauv)
50&50 by Capannelle & Avignonesi (1988  - sangiovese & merlot)

Paleo by Macchiole (1989 - cabernet franc)
Olmaia by Col d'Orcia (1989 - cabernet sauvignon)
Guado al Tasso by Antinori (1990 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & syrah)
Cavaliere by Michele Satta (1990 - sangiovese)
Romitorio by Ruffino (1990 - colorino & merlot)
N'Antia by Badia di Morrona (1991 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Lamaione by Frescobaldi (1991 - merlot)
Il Bosco by Tenimenti d'Alessandro (1992 - syrah)
Siepi by Castello di Fonterutoli (1992 - merlot & sangiovese)
Il Carbonaione by Poggio Scalette (1992 - sangiovese)
Casalferro by Barone Ricasoli (1993 - sangiovese & merlot)
Luce by Frescobaldi (1993 - sangiovese & merlot)
Lupicaia by Castello del Terriccio (1993 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Soloio by Casa Emma (1993 - merlot)
Messorio by Le Macchiole (1994 - merlot)

Redigaffi by Tua Rita (1994 - merlot)
Messorio by Macchiole (1994 - merlot)
Galatrona by Petrolo (1994 - merlot)
Tzingana by Monte Bernardi (1994 - merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc & petit verdot)
Il Futuro by Il Colombaio di Cencio (1995 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Solengo by Argiano (1995 - merlot, cab sauv & syrah)

Piastraia by Michele Satta (1995 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sangiovese, syrah)
Rosso di Sera by Poggiopiano (1995 - sangiovese & colorino)

D'Alceo by Castello dei Rampolla (1996 - cabernet sauvignon & petit verdot)
Dulcamara by I Giusti & Zanza (1996 - cab sauv, cab franc & merlot)
Cantico by Podere La Capella (1996 - merlot)
Tenuta di Trinoro by Tenuta di Trinoro (1997 - cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
San Lorenzo by Sassotondo (1997 - ciliegiolo)
Petra by Petra (1997 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Primamateria by Poggerino (1997 - sangiovese & merlot)
Montervo by Cima (1998 - merlot)
Oreno by Tenuta Sette Ponti (1999 - sangiovese, merlot, cab sauv)
Testamatta by Bibi Graetz (2000 - sangiovese, colorino, canaiolo, moscato nero & malvasia nera)

Magari by Angelo Gaja (2000 - merlot, cabernet sauvignon & cab franc)


History of the Sassicaia and Super Tuscans:

After World War II, the Chianti, being cheap and gulpable, became known and was drunk world wide. Chianti didn't imply snobbism or wealth, it was plainly easy to drink. But with the years, the wine grew increasingly disappointing and partly the problem was the Chianti formula itself (as described on the Chianti Classico page, the addition of white grapes was tradition and was allowed up until 2006). Bettino Ricasoli postulated that a small addition of White Malvasia would heighten the vivacity of the Chianti and make it more drinkable when young. But the more popular the Chianti got, the more it was lightened with white grapes (including the rather dull Trebbiano) that rather than adding character to the Chianti turned it into a thin red wine, acidic, hollow and unbalanced. In addition to the dilution of the wine with white grapes, vineyards with poor clones of Sangiovese were planted all over Tuscany no matter the position and were exploited to respond to the high demand of the Chianti that by the 60's was bought as much for its straw-covered bottle as for the liquid inside.

In the 70's a handful of innovative and quality minded producers began taking the first steps toward making wines that would become the opposite of this "spaghetti Chianti". They were definitely inspired by the Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta owner of the estate Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri, an area on the coast of Tuscany, who produced an artisan wine that broke every rule, Sassicaia. The vineyards were planted in what was then considered just about the worst possible location in Tuscany The Cabernet Sauvignon vines were imported directly from Bordeaux and the wine was aged in French barriques. Every other wine in Tuscany was at the time aged (if aged at all) in big Slovenian oak casks, or worst case: in casks made of chestnut wood.
The first Sassicaias made in the 1940's were peculiar, even coarse wines, but the Marquis' techniques were considerably refined by the 60's and the wine turned out to be awesome. It wasn't yet very well known, since the quantities produced were minimal, but Piero Antinori who was related to the Incisa della Rocchetta knew about it. Piero Antinori was the owner of a very old winery in the Chianti Classico region. And thus the Sassicaia became the model for Antinori's Tignanello, the first of its kind in 1971. The Tignanello had no addition of white grapes and was based almost entirely on the Sangiovese and was aged in barriques (later on the Cabernet Sauvignon was added).
Other producers immediately followed suit making expensive wines sometimes from Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, sometimes from either grape alone. These wines had only one thing in common: they could not be defined Chiantis. In the eyes of the law, they were considered mere table wines and it wasn't until later when the number of Super Tuscans had increased considerably that the IGT designation was invented.


Super Tuscans Today in Comparison to Traditional Wines

Since the Super Tuscans were first produced, the DOC and DOCG rules have changed a lot to ensure the quality of the wines made under the designations and they have gained in reputation and even in fame. In fact, nowadays some producers choose to make superb DOCG wines sometimes of higher standard than their IGTs (a philosophy adapted by famous producers like Barone Ricasoli, Mazzei, Fontodi, etc).
With the alteration of the regulations of the traditional designations, some Super Tuscans (in the case of the Chianti Classico, wines that are composed of min. 80% Sangiovese) could today classify as DOCGs. But many producers have decided to keep their Super Tuscans on the IGT designation and with a proprietor name, because the
Super Tuscan has now got an internationally recognized reputation and still gives the producer a complete freedom of expression.

If you refer to a Super Tuscan today, you are speaking of a wine with an international flair, generally flamboyant, dense and powerful, tannic wines with a flavor of new oak.

The "traditional" DOCG wines (that as we have seen are less traditional than as such) are wines based on the original grape, Sangiovese, and are now expected to express the typicality of a territory. Sangiovese is grape which entire flavor spectra is indicated toward accompanying food. It's less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon, more elegant and lighter in body than Syrah or Zinfandel. Wines made from Sangiovese often possess a fascinating suggestion or saltiness (illusion, since salt is not an actual component of wine) and a good portion of acidity that cleans the palate after a bite of food.


Listen to the story of the Super Tuscans!



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