However, in the eyes of Italy’s legislatores, these wines, delicious as they may have been, were not Chianti because they were made up of non-traditional Italian grapes. They were merely humble vino da tavola, to be downed at anyone’s table.
Still, by continually improving techniques, these stubborn winemakers managed to create the Super Tuscan label, which was made into a designated IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) in 1992.
This basically meant that their odd hybrid wines made with non-native grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah were recognized as good wines, as opposed to the super-plonky vino de tavola made elsewhere in the region.
Despite this, the term Super Tuscan is still rather vague because it can cover anything from a dark, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon blends to jaunty, lively Sangiovese.
However, one thing to look out for is ‘named’ wines on the label, for example Luce Della Vite “Lucente” Toscana – a fabulous second wine from the Luce estate in Montalcino or Argiano’s "Suolo”, which is also from Montalcino and made from 100% Sangiovese.
You might be looking at a price tag of HK$600 for Tignanello or even higher for Sassicaia, but they are now legends in their own right and deservedly so as they are the products of when Italian winegrowers basically threw out the rule book and did whatever the hell they liked – much as they do now.
5 Super Tuscans to Look Out For
2012 Antinori Tignanello
HK$850 from Links Concept, www.linksconcept.com.hk
2012 Castello Banfi Col di Sasso
HK$890 from ASC Wines, www.asc-wines.com
2010 Le Macchiole Scrio
HK$1,180 from Watsons Wines, www.watsonswine.com
2011 Tenuta Luce Della Vite Lucente
HK$337 from Jebsen Fine Wines, www.jebsenfinewines.com
1990 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia
HK$2,800 from Altaya, www.altayawines.com