1. Tignanello (Tuscany, IGT – $80)
The venerable wine that started the global trend and perception change of Tuscan wines. As the Antinori family, lead by patriarch Marchese, attempted to move away from cheap and low quality baskets of bulk Tuscan wine, this supple blend of 85% Sangiovese (the classic Tuscan grape) with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc with a slight oak finish from the 12 months in barrel did just the trick in 1971 and continues to drive the market today. Truly a wine to have in every collection and a pleasant departure from traditional Bordeaux style blends driven by Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
2. Solaia (Tuscany, IGT – $235)
There are few debates that rage harder in Italian wines than which premier Super Tuscan reigns supreme Solaia or Sassicaia (a decision which can only be truly made by each individual’s preference for fruit or acidity). Solaia, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Sangiovese, is smooth and balanced on the palate with soft tannins and acidity that can balance out cheeses, braised meats, and even a savory soufflé. This is not a wine to be missed and opened for a truly special occasion. Although as some Italian sommeliers argue, with this wine the special occasion is enjoying the wine itself.
3. Prima Pietra (Tuscany, IGT – $55)
A relative newcomer to the ever-growing Super Tuscan trend. Grown at a higher elevation near the coast of Bolgheri this truly Bordeaux influenced blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot exemplifies a truly Italian Right Bank influenced wine. Soft tannins and a long fruit driven finish make for a wonderful wine with the right balance of oak and acidity and a pleasant spice on the nose.