A Super Helpful Guide To Super Tuscans
Happy Fall y'all! It's that magical time in the PNW when the leaves are doing their gorgeous ombre yellow to red thing, when chilly mornings give way to cozy evenings, and the smell of wood burning fireplaces lingers in the early darkness. Red wine season is officially here!
It's harvest time too, and as our winemakers are rolling in 2021 vintage grapes and begin crafting future wines, we also start rolling out all new red wines for you to pick up and enjoy all season long. One of our recent releases is a Super Tuscan red blend that we have aptly christened Super Helpful. So come along as we dive in and spill the tea on your next new favorite.
What is a Super Tuscan wine?
What is it? What exactly makes Super Tuscans so SUPER? Well, like anything with an eye-catching name that evokes a sense of desire or special-ness, it’s marketing. The name "Super Tuscan" was cultivated by wine writers in the early 1980’s to describe renegade Italian red blends.
There’s a bit of a misnomer as to what a “Super Tuscan” wine is because kind of grapes in the blends can range so widely. You can find everything from fruity and racy Sangiovese-based wines to deep, opulent Syrah-based wines. But at the end of the day, “Super Tuscan” is a term used to describe red wines from Tuscany that may include non-indigenous grapes, particularly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
Renegade Red Blends.
The creation of Super Tuscan as a name for these not totally Italian blends was the direct result of the frustration that ambitious Italian producers had towards the painfully slow and bureaucratic process of changing Italy’s restrictive wine laws in the 1970s. So, they said “screw it” and winemakers began mixing ‘unsanctioned’ wine varieties (like Merlot) into their blends. Eventually, Super Tuscan became synonymous with high quality wines from the region.
Rebelliousness helped market the Super Tuscan story, as quality and individuality helped sell the wines around the world. As these wines gained in popularity, authorities acknowledged the system’s inadequacies, and in 1992, the Italian government decided to introduce a new wine classification: Toscana IGT. Although this designation gave winemakers the ability to be more creative in their blending, the name isn’t exactly romantic. So it isn’t any wonder that “Super Tuscan” has been the firebrand to stick with both critics and consumers.
Super Helpful Red Blend
This 2019 vintage of Super Helpful is a blend of 54% Sangiovese, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 18% Petit Verdot. So, the Sangio makes it “Tuscan” and the Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot make it “Super.”
Unlike our other blended reds, the grapes in this wine were intentionally “co-fermented.” Which just means that they’ve been mingling and melding together since the beginning of their winemaking journey. This differs from the more common practice of fermenting and aging the wines separately before blending precise proportions together to create a particular style of wine.