Christie’s wine expert Chris Munro takes us on a whistle-stop tour through the past of this Italian wine-producing powerhouse. According to Munro the founding father of Super Tuscan wines is Marchesi Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who arrived in Tuscany—for years the home of Sangiovese, the predominant grape variety of Chianti—from Rome in the 1940s. He settled in Bolgheri and began experimenting with Cabernet Franc, as he had a fondness for the wines of Bordeaux and wanted to create similar wines in Tuscany.
For years the wine was drunk and enjoyed locally. Then in 1972, the Marchesi’s nephew Piero Antinori arrived and the world was introduced to the first commercial release of Sassicaia—the 1968 vintage. New plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon were soon added, and a new wine great was born. Classic vintages, including the 1985, soon put the property on the world’s list of must-have wines; it now consists of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 15 percent Cabernet Franc.
The success of Sassicaia inspired others, with Antinori’s younger brother, Lodovico, setting up Ornellaia in 1981 and releasing its first vintage in 1985. The wine is traditionally a blend of 50–60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20–25 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Franc, and a small amount of Petit Verdot—simply put, a Bordeaux blend from Tuscany.
Read more in the related article in luxurydefined, the online-Magazine of Christie’s International Real Estate.