Updated: Dec 8, 2022
So what are IGT wines? How did they come about? Are IGT wines just from Tuscany? Are they Super Tuscans? Finally who coined the term ‘Super Tuscan’ and what was it meant to convey?
Firstly, let me try to explain some of the factual answers to those question, along with my opinion of a possible explanation.
IGT stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica (Typical Geographical Indication) this denomination was created in 1992 to raise awareness of a higher tier above ‘Vino da Tavola’ (Table Wine) category for quality wines that did not meet the requirements for DOC or DOCG denominations.
As previously mentioned, the main reason for this new classification coming into play was caused by winemakers experimenting with ‘unsanctioned’ wine varieties blending international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc with indigenous grapes to make a better quality product. Some IGT wines are made by a single indigenous grape but remain out of the DOC DOCG classification as the vinification method may differ and not comply. These wines did not fall into any recognised categories in the 70’s and 80’s so they became Vino da Tavola, the lowest grade, and yet many of these wines were of superior quality. It took the slow moving Italian bureaucracy some 15/20 years to change the wine laws, hence IGT.
As a point of interest, I have attached a list of the numerous grape varieties (indigenous and international) permitted for the production of Toscana IGT wine, as an appendix of this review and tasting notes.
Another reason, I believe, not widely publicised is many of the Sangiovese clones planted in the third quarter of the last century were of poor quality, producing harsh wines full of forward tannins that needed other indigenous and international varieties to smooth out some of those angular traits in the wines.
An obvious wine to mention was the now famous Piero Antinori wine Tignanello: a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon released in 1978.
Next… ‘Super Tuscan’, this definition came into existence in the 1980’s. There are several speculations of its originator, some believe it was Luigi Veronelli the Italian wine/ food writer; others believe it was David Gleave, British M.W. and Italian wine expert; or Burton Anderson a wine writer who moved to Tuscany in 1977. The fact is we will never really know who to applaud. What is very important and not to be overlooked is that Italian wine was making a positive name for itself in quality and the diverse offerings to the market as recognised by the wine world at large, and has never looked back.
To clear up another point, IGT wines are made all over Italy not just Tuscany: perhaps they should be called Super Italians!
Now the difficult one: How to spot a Super Tuscan among a trove of IGTs? I think one way to identify the difference is by looking at the label, if the wine has its own name such as Tignanello, Oreno, Saffredi, Siepi, Flaccianello and Cepparello these are names that scream ‘Super Tuscan!’ So on reflection: ‘Super Tuscan’ is an IGT wine that has had a consistent run of excellence that has earned that accolade and deserves to be identified by its personal name.
There is little argument in stating the first ‘Super Tuscan’ was Sassicaia from Bolgheri, followed by Tignanello from Chianti Classico region.
Let us not forget a fundamental factor with all these wines, they might incorporate some international varieties, but they are grown in Italian soil, incorporating Italian terroir, and put together with mainly Italian winemakers.
What to expect from these glorious wines? Concentrated flavour, phenomenal aromatics, structured and approachable wines, most at a price that makes stealing perfectly legal!
I wish to offer my thanks to the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico for their trust and all the winemakers who have kindly sent their wines to my office in Umbria to be appraised.
Also Silvia Fiorentini, the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico’s Marketing and Communication Manager whose continued support has been invaluable.
Bevorosso IGT 2019
A blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon
Medium purple in colour. Forward dark floral aromas. Black ripe fruit and red berries, menthol, leather, tobacco, tree bark, faint mint notes. Cool entry. Medium bodied. Saline minerality. Slight bitter herb off the mid palate.
Points 90 TW
Campaccio IGT 2019
A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
Pale purple in colour. Showing fresh aromatic delineation and nuance. Dark cherry, pomegranate, orange peel, balsamic notes, grilled Mediterranean herbs, tobacco and beetroot. Warm entry. Juicy. Potent and sumptuous. Long broad finish.
Points 93 TW
Badia a Coltibuono
Montebello IGT 2018
A blend of 9 Indigenous varieties
Medium garnet in colour. Rose petal and violet florals. Red cherry, Kirsch.
Concentrated ripeness. Warm smooth entry opens up on mid palate, showing energy and breadth. Second nuances of orange peel and powered eastern spice. Articulated close.
Points 93 TW
Badia a Coltibuono
Sangioveto IGT 2016
Pale garnet in colour. Purple aromatics. Red cherry, pomegranate, loganberry. Menthol nuances. Warm entry. Balanced. Glorious acidic texture surrounding the fruit, gives a fresh uplift. Subtle and graceful. Considerable appeal. Long finish.
Points 94 TW
Bibbianaccio IGT 2016
Sangiovese 50% Colorino 45% Malvasia Bianco del Chianti and Trebbiano 5%
Medium Garnet in colour. On the nose Sangiovese all day long! Medium body. Fine integrated tannins. So expressive and juicy. Good textural depth. Lightly spiced red berry fruits. Pin point acidity that lifts the mid palate. Long close. Terrific!
Points 95 TW