Super Tuscans: You love them or you hate them. They are wines that statistically score high, but are they all necessarily good? What does it all even mean?
Tuscany is known more for the sangiovese grape, with various amounts of it in five DOCG up to 100% in the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. However, with the popularity of international grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot, producers wanted the option to be able to use these grapes. Because the laws never permitted these grapes, the wines were downgraded to simple Vino di Tavola, yet they were far from simple!
Brands like Sassicaia and Tignanello were big on putting Super Tuscans on the map, as they believed in these grapes because the climate was suitable for their growth. After much perserverance from the Tenuta San Guido Estate (Sassicaia), the designation for Bolgheri DOC now exists (1994) and one for its very own, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC in 2013.
Today, I’m not here to talk about them, but rather I Collazzi, an estate owned by the Marchi family since 1933. Of their vast land holdings of 400 ha, only 25 ha is actual vineyards, with surprisingly very little sangiovese. They grow mainly cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot, and interestingly enough have an outstanding single varietal petit verdot called Ferro in their lineup.
The IGT Toscana I Collazzi consists of Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Cabernet Franc 25%, Merlot 20%, Petit Verdot 5% – pretty much a true Bordeaux blend and not terribly expensive at $64 CAD for the 2016 vintage.
But the real deal here is what I like to call a Baby Super Tuscan, their Libertà featuring not only merlot and cab franc, but with the addition of Syrah to put a little spicy kick in this wine! The name Libertà has some history behind it also! The city of Florence gave a gift to eight Florentine families, of which one such family was the then owners of the Collazzi property who fought valiently to free
The 55% merlot keeps the wine soft, the 30% cabernet franc brings structure and complexity to the blend and the 15% syrah kicks it into the spice camp. You’ll also find amazing flavours of ripe plum, red currants, ripe red cherries, forest floor and hints of pepper spice and a nice touch of oak. Just the right amount of smooth tannins and some tangy acidity; it’s just begging for a big piece of meat! It drinks well beyond its price point, which in my market is an absolute steal at $20 CAD/bottle! By the way…I did a Riedel tasting on my last trip to Italy, and they poured 2012 Sassicaia in the Cab glass. I was underwhelmed. So that to say…that not all the big names in Super Tuscan land are winners!
And when in Florence and surrounding area, la bistecca is the go to meat, and there’s nothing better than a big ol’ steak with a full bodied Super Tuscan wine, even if it’s a Baby Super Tuscan! Little did I know, that my 20-year-old daughter had found a recipe online for steak marinade and put the steak to stew for five hours. She blended (all things Italian really) balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, basil…and a few other ingredients) to make this unbelievable tasting steak that my husband then put on the grill. Those flavours, plus the wine, was like a unicorn dancing on a rainbow…one of the best combos I’ve ever had! The fruit was explosive and dancing in my mouth and the flavours of the steak, the marinade, the asparagus and my fresh greens (from my garden I might add) all came together as some sort of Utopia…I think I finished half the bottle of Libertà, it was just that good…
It’s not all about me though! Get in on the conversation (or maybe the controversy) and have a look at my fellow #ItalianFWT writers to see what they have to say! And join us for our Twitter chat, June 27, 2020!
Super Tuscans, Take-Out Pizza, and a Spicy Summer Salad |Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Super Tuscan Wine Pairing: I Sodi di San Niccolò and Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms |The Wine Chef
Super Tuscans: What’s It All About? |VinoTravels
A Stop at Brancaia and a Pizza Night |Somm’s Table
Super rating, super price – Is this Super Tuscan super? | My Full Wine Glass
Have You Tried These Super Tuscans? |The Wining Hour
There’s no need to Fear, Super Tuscans are here! |Our Good Life
Are Super Tuscans still relevant and worth my time and money?|Crushed Grape Chronicles
Cooper’s Hawk: A Great Concept and a Super Super Tuscan |A Day In the Life on the Farm
No Super Tuscans for Me! | FoodWineClick
Super Tuscans: Keep Your Sassicaia, I’ll take the Sangiovese |WinePredator
Supertuscan Is All About The Name, Not In The Wine |GrapeVine Adventures.
Looking Beyond the Name Super-Tuscans |Avvinare
Naming Rights + Super Tuscans |Our fearless host Jill Barth at L’Occasion