The first is what’s your favorite wine? My standard answer is shared by most of my fellow wine educators: it depends on what I’m eating, where I’m eating it and whom I’m eating it with.
The second is what’s a Super Tuscan? When asked to reflect on this now decades-old conundrum, my ready reply is I can’t tell you what a Super Tuscan is but I know one when I taste it.
Looking back to the early years of the Italian wine renaissance, it’s now clear (at least to me) that when we keepers of the faith railed against the Super Tuscan trend, our issue wasn’t as much with the “aia” wines as it was with the media who championed them.
Part of the problem was that many of us didn’t have the financial means to spend proper time with the wines. For many, the only opportunity to taste them was at walk-around events where we were served just a few ounces. Who could afford to go out to dinner and order a bottle of 1988 Sassicaia back then (or now)? But it was also exacerbated by said writers’ arrogance and, in many cases, their ignorance of a broader picture of Italian wine. Just because you read Italo Calvino in college doesn’t mean that Cesare Pavese wasn’t one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
One of the things that I’m eager to discuss today on my live Instagram story with Clara Gentili of Fattoria Le Pupille (@EthicaWines today at 11 a.m. CST/12 p.m. EST) is the legacy of the OG Super Tuscans. The ones, like her family’s, that have been around since before the “aia” era. The ones, like her family’s, grown on hillsides. The ones, like her family’s, that aim for elegance and balance, with acidity that will help the wine to age gracefully and make it food friendly at the dinner table. The ones, like her family’s, that taste of the Tuscan garigue even though they are made with international grape varieties.
I hope you can join us.