A Super Tuscan is an aptly named red wine blend from Tuscany, usually consisting of a blend of two or more grapes that are traditionally French. These blends almost always include Sangiovese, and can include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and/or Cabernet Franc.
The creation of Super Tuscan wines stemmed from a period of frustrated winemakers in Italy in the 1970s. With strict regulations from the Italian appellation, or Denominazione d’Orgine Controllata (DOC), winemakers sought to rebel and create new blends using Bordeaux-style varietals. These blends started gaining in popularity outside of the region first, surprisingly. Because the blends didn’t qualify for a DOC classification, they were classified as Vino da Tavola (table wine), but started gaining attention and acclaim from wine critics around the world. Super Tuscans finally fell into a new classifications in the 1990s called Indicazione Geografica Tipica, which was created to classify wines that didn’t follow regulations for DOC or DOCG, but were still a tier above Vino da Tavola.
What I love about these blends is that the Sangiovese usually finds a way to stand out amongst the other grapes that it is blended with, and no two blends are stylistically the same. Carpineto’s Dogajolo Toscano Rosso is a younger Super Tuscan primarily made of Sangiovese and blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. The Sangiovese underwent a full malolactic fermentation, while the Cabernet Sauvignon underwent partial fermentation before being blended with the Sangiovese and spending 6 months in barrels. On the palate, that sour cherry, bright red fruit and bold spice from the Sangiovese jumps out first, with notes of coffee, vanilla and oak on the finish.
This blend is incredibly food-friendly with a medium body and balanced acidity. I call this picnic wine because it would pair incredibly well with cured meats, bold cheeses and bread.