Rosso Fortissimo (literally “strong red”) Super Tuscan style
Cellar Craft Showcase Collection
Bottled July 2014
Super Tuscan is the name given to a style of wine produced in Italy in the early 1970s in revolt against production rules thought to be archaic and entirely too restrictive. Some Italian winemakers wanted to experiment with various grape combinations, and not be held to the use of only the local Sangiovese, or the requirement to include a specified amount of white grapes such as Malvasia or Trebbiano (interestingly, now prohibited).
These winemakers sought to improve quality and distance their product from the standard, mediocre Chianti of the day, coining the term Super Tuscan as a way of garnering interest in their product, the use of the word “super” implying superior quality. It turned out that the entire region benefited from the actions of these maverick producers. Modern-day Chianti is a force to be reckoned with. Super Tuscans now carry the designation IGT–Indicazione Geografica Tipica, in recognition of the high quality of these wines.
Sangiovese on its own is full of black cherry flavours, with herbal notes, tea aromas and flavours, floral notes of deep violet. One of the hallmarks of Sangiovese is a bracing acidity, which is well matched by substantial tannins. Oak ageing helps to bring balance to the finished product. Super Tuscans often bring in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and on occasion Syrah. Each style features its own blend and may or may not include Sangiovese. Commercial prices usually range from $100 – $250 per bottle.
This Cellar Craft Showcase Rosso Fortissimo showed a dark cherry colour, clear with no visible particles. Intense aromas included sour cherry; blackberry; violet; dark chocolate; coffee; cloves; and black earth.
The flavour profile was less intense, with combined flavours of cherry; blackberry; plum; baking spices; black olive; and underlying oak. Full-bodied, with acidity slightly more up-front than the somewhat chewy tannins. A lush, round and smooth mouth feel gave way to a lingering finish with white pepper notes.
This Super Tuscan style featured elegance and strength of aromas, flavour and mouth feel together with high levels of acidity and tannins that would be a perfect match for grilled steak; roasts; most tomato-based sauced dishes; hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Gran Padano or Pecorino.
Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier