Tuscany epitomizes a great Italian wine region. The area is known for producing some of the world’s finest wines, from Chianti to Brunello di Montalcino. While Super Tuscan wines don’t have the storied history of styles like Brunello, it didn’t take these wines long to earn both the respect and the value associated with the very finest traditional Italian wines. If you enjoy drinking a Super Tuscan wine at your favorite Italian cafe but have yet to add a bottle to your collection at home, it’s time. You can’t go wrong by choosing from among some of the best Super Tuscan wines ever made, so we’ve gathered a list of the very finest examples to help you get started.
From Table Wine to Super Tuscan
Unlike other collectible wines from the region, such as Brunello di Montalcino, which must be made with 100-percent Sangiovese, or even Chianti, which must be composed of at least 80-percent Sangiovese, Super Tuscans can be as diverse in their composition and character as the winemaker wishes. And, though these blends do often include Sangiovese, it’s not uncommon for them to contain less than 50-percent Sangiovese—or to have none at all. In fact, many are produced primarily using grapes not indigenous to the region, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
The Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) system regulated the types and percentages of grapes used in wine, as well as the aging process.
In the late 1960s, when winemakers were experimenting with what we now call Super Tuscans, Italy had recently introduced the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) system, which regulated the types and percentages of grapes used in wine, as well as the aging process. As a result of these regulations, winemakers making high-quality experimental wines using foreign grapes were forced to label their wines as low-quality table wine. As more producers began creating consistently top-quality, unique, and memorably inventive blends and these wines gained recognition, they gained the unofficial label of Super Tuscans before finally being recognized and classified by the Italian government. Now, they may have DOCG or DOC status, or the designation created specifically for them: Toscana Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).
The Best Super Tuscan Wines to Add to Your Collection
What’s exciting about Super Tuscans is that every producer strives to create a blend that is unique to the estate and, therefore, an individual experience to taste. However, that can make choosing among the best Super Tuscan wines more difficult; every Super Tuscan wine is different, and the best wine for you will depend on the grape varieties you most enjoy and whether you prefer blends or varietal wines.
Our list of the best Super Tuscan wines includes the grapes used to produce each blend—with the most dominant grape listed first—followed by particularly outstanding years. Though grape percentages will vary from vintage to vintage, you’ll still have a good idea of what to expect when the wine hits your palate. Each of the recommended vintages below received excellent scores from critics such as Robert Parker of Wine Advocate and Master of Wine Jancis Robinson. They’re all of the highest quality—and some are rare and quite valuable, too.
Fattoria Le Pupille Saffredi
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 10% Alicante
Le Macchiole Merlot Messorio
Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso
100% Cabernet Franc
Marchesi Antinori Solaia
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Superiore
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc
Tenuta di Trinoro Toscana Rosso
50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot
Tua Rita Redigaffi
If you lean strongly towards Merlot, then a Tua Rita Redigaffi, Ornellaia Masseto, or Le Macchiole Merlot Messorio wine will both please your palate and beautifully complement your portfolio. Prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon? A top vintage of Marchesi Antinori Solaia or Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia would be a perfect way to start your collection.
If you’re interested in laying down a Super Tuscan for the long-term, choose a blend with a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon from a highly rated vintage, and consider cellaring it for at least a decade or more. The 2016 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia is a prime example; this Super Tuscan will thrive with thirty years or more of aging.
Diversify Your Wine Portfolio With Super Tuscans
One of the best ways to invest in these wines is to choose an assortment of the best Super Tuscan wines from different estates and vintages. Though each of the wines we’ve discussed in this post will increase in value with the passage of time, labels and producers may wax and wane in popularity. If your plan is to sell your Super Tuscan collection in part or in full at any point, the best way to ensure a high return on investment is to anticipate market shifts by diversifying your collection.
As all wines age, their tannins and fruit flavors tend to soften, while certain notes of spice and earth can strengthen.
Keep in mind that your tastes may change over time as well. Your preference for a red fruit-forward, medium-bodied Merlot today could shift toward an appreciation for a black fruit-forward, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon tomorrow. And of course, as all wines age, their tannins and fruit flavors tend to soften, while certain notes of spice and earth can strengthen—sometimes surprisingly so. Buying these wines by the case and opening one bottle each year until the vintage peaks will yield a different experience with every taste, and a fuller appreciation and understanding of great wine. If your intent is to enjoy the Super Tuscan wines in your collection, do your future self a favor and buy more than one of these incredible wines.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.