A guide to Tuscan wine © Francesco Sgroi/Flickr

A guide to Tuscan wine

In search of the legendary heroes of Italian wine

The rise of the 'Super Tuscan' is no legend, but a true story well worth telling. The term 'Super Tuscan' itself raises many questions – is it a Cabernet Sauvignon blend, a departure from the D.O.C. system, 100% Sangiovese, or just really expensive wine from Tuscany? The search for the true meaning of Super Tuscan takes us to one of Italy’s geographically most dynamic regions, sandwiched between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Sounds too vast to explore? With our guide, it doesn’t have to be. We will take you to some of the key destinations in Tuscany.

Coastal Tuscany

A number of prestigious winemakers are located along the Wine and Oil Road of the Etruscan Coast. In fact, this was where the Italian wine revolution started in the 1970s, when Super Tuscans became local winegrowers’ ticket to the international market. Five D.O.C. areas, Terratico di Bibbona, Montescudaio, Bolgheri – the birthplace of Sassicaia which proved to be a game-changer – Val di Cornia and Elba Island, make the coast an important visit.

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© Eric Flexyourhead/Flickr

Castello del Terriccio, in the Montescudaio D.O.C. region, between Bolgheri and Cecina, covers flatlands and hills over an impressive 4,200 hectares, of which 60 are producing the coveted Tassinaia, Lupicaia and the eponymous blend itself. Visits, only on weekdays, will transport you to the heartland of the Super Tuscans.

In Val di Cornia, Tua Rita estate in Suvereto is lovingly named after the owner and her husband Virgilio who produce notable Super Tuscans such as Giusto di Notri and Redigaffi. Thirty breathtaking hectares of vines are their labour of love. Your visit culminates in the large, cheerful tasting room after admiring the suggestive cellar with beautiful frescoes on site.

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Central Tuscany

Chianti Classico is the bread and butter of winemakers between Florence and Siena in Central Tuscany. Though Chianti Classico’s formula has been modified in recent years, Super Tuscan creators have not veered far from the original D.O.C.G. laws, thus their blends can easily be labelled as Chianti Classico. A journey along the Wine and Oil Road of Chianti Classico will take you across Greve in Chianti, Panzano, Castellina, Fonterutoli and end in Siena.

The Mazzei brothers have wowed wine lovers with two excellent Super Tuscans, Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi and Tenuta Belguardo, both produced on a 650-hectare estate which the family has owned for nearly six centuries. Vineyards, olive groves and woods are just part of this stunning property complete with accommodations and an osteria. Castello di Fonterutoli’s winery tours and tastings will without doubt reignite your passion for Chianti Classico.

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© Imazzei/Flickr

Southern Tuscany

Running from Grosseto southward, the Wine Road of Maremma from Capalbio, Magliano in Toscana and Campagnatico (south to north), Roccalbegna, Semproniano and Scansano, to Manciano, Pitigliano and Sorano (central to eastern Maremma) will reveal new horizons. Discover the D.O.C. wines from the Maremma provinces, alongside the well-known ceramics, saffron, honey and many other local products.

Innovative winemakers from this area are beginning to gain well-deserved recognition for their Super Tuscan blends. In addition to Bianco di Pitigliano D.O.C., Capalbio D.O.C. and many others, Morellino di Scansano D.O.C. is a fast-rising Super Tuscan, produced by Fattoria Le Pupille on its 75 hectares of vineyards spread around Maremma. Having founded this relatively new winery in 1985, the 'Lady of Morellino' Elisabetta Geppetti is a true ambassador of Maremma wines. You can visit the mosaic of vineyards in the region, and experience a Maremma-style welcome in the intimate Le Pupille guesthouse.

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© Roland Steffen/Flickroland Steffen/Flickr