A bit of History
Italy fell into the doldrums in the late 19th and mid-20th century, only to be re-ignited in the, late 70s, 80s and 90s, by producing modern variations on traditional wines. The most controversial Super Tuscans are named such to denote all Tuscan wines that do not conform to traditional Tuscan winemaking practices and therefore do not fit their DOC or DOCG designations. The main reason for breaking convention was the use of international (predominately Bordeaux blends) grape varieties, as is the case with Sassicaia, Solaia, Ornellaia and Masseto. Today they offer an excellent alternative to Bordeaux at a fraction of the price of First Growths. They also have an extremely strong on-trade (restaurants and hotels) business and are sold in all good Italian restaurants the world over, as well as any other top quality wine list.
Tignanello and the Antinori Family
Tignanello is made by the Antinori family, famous also for Solaia (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese) and Guado al Tasso. However, unlike Solaia and the other aforementioned wines Tignanello is made up predominately of (85%) of Sangiovese, the traditional grape variety of Chianti, the splendid Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In fact Tignanello was the first Sangiovese based wine to be aged in small French oak barrels (normally spending a year in new oak) and unlike the other world famous Super Tuscans, Tignanello is grown in the Chianti Classico designated area (between Greve and the Pesa river valleys), further inland than the coastal Bolgheri, where the grapes get the right amount of sunshine to ripen fully.
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