pop grape

good enough for rihanna, better for my dad

Rihanna posted this photo on Twitter the other day.

It’s true: if you know, you know. Riri knows. I know. And my dad knows too, though he didn’t a mere three months ago.

I got him a 2006 Sassicaia for his birthday. I was super excited to give it to him, but when he opened it he didn’t know what it was! For others who don’t, it’s what they call a Super Tuscan. This is basically a made up term for Italian wines that choose not to adhere to the winemaking laws of the Tuscan region and put whatever they feel is best in the blend.

Traditionally, Tuscan wines are all Sangiovese. But newer wineries wanted to evolve and plant other grape varietals. The Sassicaia people thought the terroir in Bolgheri was similar to Graves in Bordeaux (fun fact: Graves means “gravel” in French, and Sassicaia means “stony ground” in Tuscan dialect).

So, they planted some Cabernet Sauvignon in Bolgheri in 1944 and produced their first vintage in 1968, with their usual mix of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. But Italian wine law wouldn’t let them use the DOCG wine term for high-quality wines since they went rogue with their grape types, so they had to use the lower term IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) which usually is used just for regional wines that use a whole bunch of possibly lower-quality grapes. These new wines being made though were arguably some of the best wines coming out of Italy, so a critic nicknamed them Super Tuscans.

Sassicaia is one of the best. I don’t know how often Rihanna drinks it, but we only have one bottle and are waiting for a special occasion to pop it open. Unlike Rhianna’s mere regular bottle though, ours is a magnum! We are way more baller.


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