A Super Tuscan pairs best with rich and meaty foods such as Wild Boar Stew, Venison, Steak, Pasta with Meat Sauce and Truffles, Roasted Lamb and Roast Beef.
There is an incredible amount of variety to the Super Tuscan Family. A Super Tuscan is any wine produced in Tuscany that is not approved by the DOCG. What does that even mean? The DOCG is a wine label classification that tells the consumer that a wine meets certain standards. Wine producers in Italy felt that they were restrained by these rules and decided to produce wines that follow the mandatory standards. Marketing the wines as Super Tuscans, the wines took off and are highly sought after.
Super Tuscan has no strict set of blended grapes. They could be 100% Sangiovese, or 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. It’s whatever the winemaker feels like and the ratios and blends will vary from year to year. If I were to sum up a Super Tuscan, I’d say to expect a bold flavoured red wine with lots of complexity and a silky body. There is so much to discover in any bottle of Super Tuscan that most of it will go over your head unless you’ve dedicated your life to studying and drinking wine.
Best Food and Super Tuscan Pairings
Below is a list of the most popular Super Tuscans on the market and wine pairing suggestions.
Sassicaia by Tenuta San Guido, Bolgheri
- 80% Cabernet Sauvignon or more
- Cabernet Franc (remainder)
Sassicaia is a Super Tuscan with a strong cult following. While the wine varies by vintage, you can typically expect a rich red with medium acidity, ample tannin and a medium-plus body. Expressive plum, blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and prune flavours make this red a mouth-watering delight. You’ll also find notes of smoke, leather, and a hint of tobacco, along with floral characteristics, which add complexity to any food pairings.
Filet Mignon & Sassicaia Pairing
Filet Mignon is a boneless steak cut from a beef tenderloin, making it one of the most tender and lightly flavoured steaks. Low in flavourful fat, you need to eat Filet Mignon rare or medium rare, or else you will cook the delicate flavour out.
Sassicaia works with Filet Mignon as the lively acidity that Cabernet Franc brings to the wine ensures the bolder Cabernet Sauvignon flavours do not overwhelm the steak. In addition, the silky texture of Sassicaia complements the buttery texture of your Filet Mignon. Meanwhile, the notes of smoke, plum, prune, red cherry, tobacco and leather found in the wine will drive you wild!
I’d pair Filet Mignon with a bottle of Sassicaia that has seen a decade or two of age as it makes for a spicier and smoother red wine. If you have a younger bottle that you can’t wait to crack open – choose a fattier steak with a lot more flavour, such as a New York Strip Steak or a Porterhouse.
This fatty cut of meat is wonderful with Sassicaia, as the grippy tannin in the red perfectly bonds with the protein-rich and fat-heavy content of Filet Mignon. Simultaneously, the tannin is tamed by the fat, and the fat is scraped away by the tannin, so you taste both the meat and wine on the finish.
Ornellaia – Tenuta Ornellaia, Bolgheri (2020)
- 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 32% Merlot
- 13% Cabernet Franc
- 5% Petit Verdot
Expect lots of ripe red fruit and toasty vanilla flavours, with leather, espresso, and spice on the finish. This wine is a monster and should be decanted for at least 2 hours before enjoying to help tame its firm tannin bite. A must pair with rare red meats, as flavourful fats are needed to wind this tightly coiled wine down.
Ornellaia – Super Tuscan and Bistecca alla Fiorentina Pairing
Bistecca alla Fiorentina translates in English to Florentine steak. It basically uses a bone in porterhouse cut of beef and a simple preparation using sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, grilled briefly over high heat.
As it is cooked rare, the Fiorentina steak maintains a high level of fat (and flavour) This high-fat content is essential in smoothing out the firm tannin found in Ornellaia. This helps you enjoy the deeper flavours of the wine, such as the black fruit flavours and notes of espresso, spice and leather.
Grattamacco Rosso by Podere Grattamacco, Bolgheri (2020)
- 60% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 20% Cabernet Franc
- 10% Merlot
- 10% Sangiovese
On the nose, expect red fruit flavours along with black cherry, plum and blackberry notes. Also, expect a savoury aspect of menthol, black pepper, pine and cinnamon. This medium-plus-bodied red has firm tannin and a balanced acidity that brings harmony to the full finish.
Grattamacco Rosso & Wild Boar Pairing
When paired with Wild Boar, the substantial flavours of this wine are released and dance across your tongue. Rich red fruit flavours tickle your taste buds while providing the perfect level of refreshment against the earthy wild boar flavours. Meanwhile, the black pepper, licorice, and menthol flavours of this red elevate the Wild Boar meatiness to new heights!
Tignanello – Antinori Santa Cristina, Metcatale Val di Pesa
- 80% Sangiovese
- 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10% Cabernet Franc
Tignanello is ripe on the nose with notes of dark cherry, strawberry and plum, along with roasted coffee and herbs. On the palate, expect silky acidity combined plucky tannin with a rich and savoury finish. You’ll find that this wine is always a perfect pair for roasted and braised red meat dishes, as well as tomato-based pasta, pizza, and smoked meats.
Roasted Lamb and Tignanello Pairing
The mint flavours of Tignanello provide a delightful companion to any Lamb dish, while the herb and coffee flavours complement the gamy and earthy lamb flavours. Furthermore, the refreshing strawberry, plum, cherry and blackberry flavours elevate this pairing even further, providing a wonderful balance to the roasted lamb.
Solaia – Antinori Santa Cristina, Metcatale Val di Pesa
- 80% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
The reverse of Tignanello, Solaia is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant red wine, and will thus feature heavier tannin and lower acidity. Thus, you wouldn’t want to pair it with tomato-based pasta dishes like you would with Tignanello but more with fatty cuts of red meat, like prime rib, steak, roasted game, or heavy stew dishes. For aged bottles, try with Pork Tenderloin, crusted black pepper tuna and veal medallions.
Taste-wise, expect a silky wine bursting with black cherry, raspberry and blueberry flavours. Also, expect flavours of toast, mint, tobacco, earth, licorice and baking spice notes.
Solaia and Venison
Venison is a rich, earthy, and smoky meat, and these flavours are electrified by the cherry, raspberry and blueberry flavours that Solaia is bursting with. Meanwhile, the black pepper and licorice flavours that envelope each sip of Solaia add layers of complexity to this pairing.
Fattier cuts of Venison are perfect with younger versions of Solaia, where the tannin will be tamed by the heavier fat content. Meanwhile, an aged bottle of Solaia is a charming companion to leaner cuts of Venison, as bottle ageing has naturally smoothed out the wine.
Guado al Tasso – Antinori Tenuta Belvedere, Bolgheri (2020)
- 30% Cabernet Franc
- 20% Merlot
- 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 35% Unknown
Guado al Tasso is plush red wine with ripe blackberry, cherry, blueberry, white pepper and earth. Aged in small oak barrels, this wine is usually the earliest drinking of Antinori’s three super-Tuscans. Guado al Tasso is perfect with Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Rack of Lamb and rare cuts of beef.
Dry Aged Steak and Guado al Tasso Pairing
Dry Aged steaks tend to be massively flavorful cuts of beef with notes of hazelnut and blue cheese. Guado al Tasso’s plush blackberry, cherry, and blueberry flavours provide a high level of refreshment without overwhelming the hazelnut and blue cheese flavours that the chef worked so hard to obtain. In addition, the earthier notes found in Guado al Tasso will complement the savoury blue cheese or nuttier flavours of the dry aged steak.