I often get asked what I would pair with a Super Tuscan. The trouble here is that there is an incredible amount of variety to the Super Tuscan Family. A Super Tuscan is any wine produced in Tuscany that does not include indigenous grapes. Thus, if the wine contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah or Cabernet Franc, consider it a Super Tuscan.
Due to the variety, I will list a dozen of the most popular Super Tuscan red wines on the market, and pair according to its grape profile.
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. You’ll want your Sassicaia to be fully mature to appreciate this pairing, as the buttery texture of Filet Mignon requires velvety soft tannins, that only an aged Sassicaia can deliver. When fully mature, the expressive fruit flavours of this wine will fade, ensuring that they are at the right level to no overwhelm the sublte beefy flavours of Filet Mignon. Meanwhile, the notes of smoke, leather and tobacco leaf seap in, and add plenty of charm and character to ensure a delicious pairing.
Ornellaia – Tenuta Ornellaia, Bolgheri
Expect lots of black fruit and toasty oak flavours, with leather, espresso, and spice on the finish. This wine is a monster, and should be decanted for a minimum of 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
- 60% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 25% Merlog
- 25% Sangiovese
On the nose, expect red fruit flavours along with black cherry and blackberry notes. Also expect a savoury aspect of mocha, black pepper cedar and balsamic. 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 prefect level of refreshment against the earthy wild boar flavours. Meanwhile the black pepper, mocha and balsamic 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 and plum, along with mint and liquorice. 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
Right out of the gate, the mint flavours of Tignanello provide a delightful companion to any Lamb dish, while the liquorice flavours complement the gamy and earthy flavours of lamb. The dark fruit flavours elevate this pairing even further, providing a wonderful backdrop to showcase the succulent lamb flavours we all love.
Solaia – Antinori Santa Cristina, Metcatale Val di Pesa
- 80% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 20% Sangiovese
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 Tignanello, but more with fatty cuts of red meat, like prime rib roast, 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 dark fruit flavours. Also expect complex toast, mocha, tobacco, earth, cedar and baking spice notes, along with black pepper, vanilla, black liquorice and forest floor on the nose.
Solaia and Venison
Venison tends to be a rich earthy and smoky meat and these flavours are electrified by the cherry, raspberry, cassis and blueberry flavours that Solaia is bursting with. Meanwhile, the black pepper and liquorice 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 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
- 55% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 25% Merlot
- 18% Cabernet Franc
- 2% Petit Verdot
Guado al Tasso is plush red wine with ripe blackberry and lots of toasty oak. Aged in small oak barrels, this wine is usually the earliest drinking of Antinori’s 3 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 flavours provide a high level of refreshment, without overwhelming the hazelnut and blue cheese flavours that chef worked so hard to obtain.
Lupicaia – Tenuta del Terriccio, Castellina Marittima
- 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10% Merlot
- 5% Cabernet Franc
Lupicaia features notes flavours of black cherry, blackcurrant, smoke, earth, eucalyptus, licorice, and dark chocolate. Expect a sharp acidity, followed by warm tannin with a persistent finish with a mineral edge. Not surprisingly, Lupicaia is excellent with beef, game, lamb, and hearty stews.
Prime Rib and Lupicaia Pairing
Lupicaia is red wine that needs aging before pairing with leaner cuts of meat. When paired against Prime Rib, the tannin is softened, and all the unique flavours of this wine unfold across your tastebuds. The earthy, smoke and mineral component is an excellent companion to any gravy drizzled on top of your prime rib. Meanwhile the black fruit flavours prime your appetite to crave more of this amazing combination.
Tassinaia – Tenuta del Terriccio, Castellina Marittima
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Tassinaia is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that varies from season to season. What you can expect are big bold flavours of blackberry, plum, cherry and blackcurrant, along with herb, tar, tobacco, cedar and vanilla notes. Due to the Merlot content, Tassinaia Super Tuscan has softer tannin that deliver a long finish.
In the past, Sangiovese was blended in, but as of 2020, it appears Tassinaia is only Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
New York Strip Steak & Tassinaia Pairing
New York Strip boasts rich flavour along with a tight grain that delivers a medium tenderness. Normally seasoned with salt and pepper, you can turn up the flavour by adding in garlic or onion salt. Tassinaia pairs well with NY Strip Steak, as the tannin is already a bit soft, so it doesn’t need a huge amount of fat content to be subdued. New York Strip Steak, while still fatty, isn’t as flavourful as a Ribeye Steak, and delivers the perfect amount of fat for Tassinaia to feed off of.
The juicy black fruit notes of Tassinaia make for a lovely contrast to the meaty flavours, while the herb, tar, tobacco and toasty vanilla notes all feed off the charred grill flavours of a seared NY Strip Steak.
Paleo Rosso – Le Macchiole, Bolgheri
- 100% Cabernet Franc
Since 2001, Paleo Rosso has been 100% Cabernet Franc. On the nose, expect herbaceous tobacco and olive notes along with fruity aromas of black currant that blend with a unique coffee finish. Paleo Rosso is rich in flavour, but light in tannin and balanced with an acidity that makes it perfect with leaner cuts of red meat, or hearty vegetarian dishes in a tomato sauce.
Paleo Rosso & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
The herbaceous notes notes of Paleo Rosso complement any green herbs sprinkled on your Eggplant Parmesan, while the acidity of this rich wine partner up with the tomato sauce base with ease. Eggplant has a bitterness that is smoothed out and sustained by Paleo Rosso’s coffee finish, making each bite a wonderful symphony.
This Super Tuscan still has enough tannin to lash into the cheese aspect of a baked Eggplant Parmesan, and the black currant notes are a nice contrast to the Eggplant Parmesan savoury flavours. Finally, Paleo Rosso has enough body not to be overwhelmed by the hearty flavours of this classic Italian dish.