Sixteen founding members launched the new ‘historical’ SuperTuscan wine committee in Florence last week.
Paolo Panerai, of Castellare di Castellina, is president of the newly formed Comitato Historical Super Tuscans, with Davide Profeti, of San Felice, as vice-president.
Piero Antinori, whose Tignanello and Solaia are some of the best-known SuperTuscans, is the committee’s honorary founder.
The association has set its headquarters in Castelnuovo Berardenga, near Siena, and its founding members include the aforementioned San Felice, Antinori and Castellare di Castellina, alongside Montevertine, Castello di Monsanto, Isole e Olena, Badia a Coltibuono, Querciabella, Castello di Fonterutoli, Ambrogio & Giovanni Folonari, Riecine, Felsina, Castello di Volpaia, Castello di Ama, Castello di Albola, and Brancaia.
‘Initially, I just meant to organise an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Vigorello, which was the first wine produced only from red grapes in the Chianti Classico area, at a time when the regulations required the use of white grapes,’ said vice-president Profeti, explaining how the idea of creating the new group came about.
‘Then I began to look at who, in the Chianti Classico, had released wines according to a similar philosophy in the following years… and the idea of doing more than just a single event began to take shape.’
The 16 founding wineries all boast at least one critically acclaimed SuperTuscan made from grapes grown within the Chianti Classico area before 1994.
Profeti said, ‘We limited it to before 1994 because not only did these pioneering producers give up the denomination, they downgraded their wines to table wine, because the Toscana IGT [generic region-wide geographical indication] that most of us use today only arrived in 1994.’
The committee’s initial decision to restrict founder members to the geographical limit of the Chianti Classico area – which explains high-profile absentees like Sassicaia – was due to the fact that ‘the concept of SuperTuscan wine was born precisely as a reaction to Chianti’s regulations, i.e. the impossibility of using only red grapes,’ said Profeti.
However, SuperTuscans that were launched later than 1994 and that are made outside the Chianti Classico region can now apply to become members.
‘By limiting founding members to within the Chianti Classico we wanted to stress that that area was key to the development of the “SuperTuscan” idea,’ said Profeti.
‘Yet we also wanted to create an association that was free and open. So now anyone can apply as long as they meet our criteria of international renown, as well as quality – which will be assessed by a tasting panel – and commercial distribution.’
The Comitato Historical Super Tuscans’ inaugural event is expected to be held in June in the US, if Covid restrictions will allow, but more educational and promotional activities will follow.