Have You Tried These Super Tuscans?
Super Tuscans to Tempt Your Palate
Italy is the worlds largest producer of wine, wowing wine-lover, wine-taster and wine expert alike with its over 500 grape varieties. There are also many different styles of wine being produced. This month, the #ItalianFWT group discussed the style known as the Super Tuscan.
About the Super Tuscan
It's no secret, Tuscan wine, or wine from the Tuscan region of Italy, is quite super. However, the term, Super Tuscan, came into circulation in the late 1960's and early 1970's, during the Italian wine renaissance. Super Tuscan refers to a particular style of wine. These wines were innovative, as they used non-traditional blending formulas and often included international varieties. Although the Super Tuscan formulas can differ, they usually include Sangiovese or other Tuscan grapes, along with some international grapes, such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Due to the fact that these new wines did not particularly adhere to DOC and DOCG regulations, they were labeled and known as Vino da Tavola. However, these wines were much more than just table wine, they were bigger, bolder and high quality wines that commanded attention. As these wayward wines improved and grew in terms of quality and success, modifications were made across the Italian wine industry. In 1992, Goria Law (Italian Wine Law), implemented the IGT (Indicazione Geographica Tipica) wine category. This new category was both more flexible in terms of winegrowing area, grapes, viticultural decisions and winemaking practices, and it is also superior to Vino da Tavola. Therefore it replaced the category, and now Super Tuscans are labeled as Toscana IGT wines.
Where do we find Super Tuscans? In Tuscany, of course. Bolgheri emerged as a production area for many top quality Super Tuscan wines, the Bolgheri DOC was modified to include them. In fact, many of the most popular Super Tuscan producers are in the Bolgheri DOC: Ornellaia, Grattamacco, Guado al Tasso and Sassicaia (Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC) and Gaja in Maremma Toscana DOC. The Chianti Classico region also became an epicenter for these new, Bordeaux-style wines. Leading the way was Antinori's Tignanello and Tenuta San Felice's Vigorello, just to mention a few.
Choices. So many choices! While the aforementioned wines are popular and represent top quality Super Tuscans, there are so many producers out there worthy of our taste and consideration. We at The Wining Hour are doing our part to taste them all! Following are a few, perhaps, lesser-known Toscana IGT wines to try.
Saracosa Governo Toscana IGT 2016
Saracosa Governo is from the Barbanera family estate, which overlook the Saracosa hill near Montalcino. Half the vineyards are in the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, and the remainder just beyond. This Super Tuscan wine is crafted by Sofia Barbanera and blends Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot – the classic Super Tuscan recipe.
Governo is named after the production method used. Governo or governo all'uso Toscano is a 14th-century winemaking technique in which a small portion of grapes is left to dry out (20 days in this case), and then used to start a second fermentation and encourages the onset of malolactic fermentation within the newly made wine. The fruit was then part-aged in French oak barriques to lend a toasty layer of complexity. This process aids in giving more body and higher alcohol levels to the wine, while making it soft and approachable.
Saracosa Governo Super Tuscan has seductive aromas of red fruits (dark cherry and plum), supported by toasty oak and sweet spicy notes. The palate drives it home with intense black cherry, spicy plum, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Very well balanced. The Sangiovese brings the fruit, Cabernet Sauvignon contributes to the structure and the Merlot softens, adding soft, dark fruit flavors.This is an elegant wine with fine tannins and a very long, velvety finish. Barbanera's Saracosa Governo has several more years of life left. 13.5% ABV
As with most Super Tuscans that employ this particular blend, the result is dense wines with rounded berry fruit and spice.
It is easy to see why this Super Tuscan wine is said to "taste like the best of Chianti and Bordeaux in one."
Principe Corsini Fattoria Le Corti "Zac" Toscana IGT 2011
We usually end up at this winery on every trip to Tuscany. Rich history and top quality wines...you can't go wrong. Principe Corsini's "Zac" is produced at their Villa Le Corti property in San Casciano Val di Pesa, in Chianti Classico. “Zac” is 100% Sangiovese from their Gugliaie vineyard (2.5 hectares).
Zac has a ruby red appearance, with flecks of garnet. It has intense and structured aromas. Cherry, raspberry and plum with balsamic, herbal notes of mint and thyme. The palate is equally complex and structured. Juicy, spicy and earthy. Black cherry, licorice, violet, spicy plum and tobacco with graphite mineral notes. Vibrant, integrated tannins and lengthy finish. Principe Corsini's Zac is smooth, rich, complex and deep. Elegant and well balanced. The 2011 is still quite sexy, with even more longevity. 14.5% ABV.
Interestingly, this wine is dedicated to Anna Corsini, the sister of Prince Tommaso, due to her strong and decisive, yet elegant character; similar to a Chianti. Zac represents new challenges for the winery, as it did with its first vintage in 2008 and more recent changes.
*Note: Beginning with the 2016 vintage, Zac Toscana IGT was upgraded to Gran Selezione status. Therefore, this wine is now known as Zac Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, which speaks volumes about the quality of this wine.
Fattoria di Cinciano Pietra Forte Toscana IGP 2011
*Note: Through the European Union (EU) nomenclature, Indicazione Geographica Protteta, or IGP may also be found on Italian labels. IGP refers to the specific territory or geographical area where the wine is made. IGT is the more traditional name, but you may also see IGP.
We had the pleaure of tasting wines at Cinciano a few years ago. Fattoria di Cinciano is located in Poggibonsi, a hamlet in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena. Cinciano's Pietra Forte brings together Sangiovese (20%), Merlot (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) from Cinciano's Sorgente vineyard. The vineyards are located at 250 meters of altitude with southwest exposure and chalky soil, rich in structure and a little clay. After the grapes are hand-picked, the wine is aged for 12 months in medium toasted barrique e tonneaux oak barrels and finished for at least 6 months in the bottle.
Cinciano Pietra Forte is deep ruby in color with complex aromas of cherry jam, violet, and spicy black currants. The palate is warm and intense with black cherry, red currants, tomato leaf, coffee and vanilla. Velvety smooth, elegant, tannic, persistent and well-balanced. After 9 years, this wine is still drinking well. 14% ABV. 3,000 bottles produced annually.
We have considered three Toscana IGT wines that are high quality, delicious and affordable. Have you tried these Super Tuscan wines? What are your thoughts on Super Tuscans?
We welcome you to join the conversation on Twitter, Saturday June 26th @ 11am EST with our #ItalianFWT group. Moreover, for even more in-depth coverage of Super Tuscans, indulge with my fellow writers.
Here's what we have planned:
Super Tuscans, Take-Out Pizza, and a Spicy Summer Salad | This post comes to you from the kitchen magician behind Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
Super Tuscans: What's It All About? | This question will be answered by the founder of #ItalianFWT, VinoTravels.
A Stop at Brancaia and a Pizza Night | A perfect combo from California's own Somm's Table.
Super rating, super price - Is this Super Tuscan super? | The question will be answered in full by My Full Wine Glass.
Have You Tried These Super Tuscans? | Get the opportunity to explore with The Wining Hour.
There’s no need to Fear, Super Tuscans are here! | Hear the heroic call from Our Good Life.
Are Super Tuscans still relevant and worth my time and money?| Find out all there is to know with Crushed Grape Chronicles.
Cooper's Hawk: A Great Concept and a Super Super Tuscan | Get the inside scoop on this treat from A Day In the Life on the Farm.
I Colazzi and a Big Ol' Steak | Don't miss this outstanding combo from Joy of Wine.
No Super Tuscans for Me! | The point of view from FoodWineClick is super clear.
Super Tuscans: Keep Your Sassicaia, I’ll take the Sangiovese | A message from WinePredator to all readers.
Supertuscan Is All About The Name, Not In The Wine | According to an Italian wine expert, GrapeVine Adventures.
Looking Beyond the Name Super-Tuscans | Insight from Avvinare that goes deeper than the title.
Super Tuscan Wine Pairing: I Sodi di San Niccolò and Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms | A tempting pairing is coming your way from The Wine Chef.
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