Supertuscans - Prices in Freefall?

It seems like I’ve been getting a ton of offers on high scoring Supertuscans recently. Is the category of wine going the way of Aussie’s and Spanish wines? Is it out of favor? Or, has everyone jumped into the region and there’s overproduction? Or, any other issue?


I don’t know much about super Tuscans but love em when I have a chance to drink em. The wine market other than top burgundies, bordeauxs and a few others are in deep trouble, especially those sub $150 to $35 market, IMO. I think there are some great QPRs.

Noticed this too. Also noticed a proliferation of “similar” names to those of established reputation (such as Sassicaia). Been seeing a lot of “aias” coming into the market. Possibly hoping to cash in on name recognition from unsuspecting consumers?

Super tuscans and other IGT wines, including those coming from the Piedmonte are having difficulties. The Italians are wanting to put some controls on these wines, while various winemakers are resisting. The problem comes in defining what an IGT wine is. Early on the great supertuscans were a combo of grosso sangievese fruit and cab. Then it became merlot and gs, then mostly just merlot and cab. IGTs are entirely unregulated and a lot of IGT wines are of very poor quality, especially from poor vintages. You have Sass and Orn, but other than that few people can name a consistently good IGT (super tuscan) wine. They all get lost in the labeling, therefore most are starting to suffer in the market place.

This is going to become a big battle in Italy, imo, in the next couple of years. It already is for many winemakers that believe others are making phlonk and trying to ride their hard earned wave. I couldn’t dare predict the conclusion.

Thanks Gordon.

But to clarify, I should have said that I was talking about high scoring wines from respected critics. Those hopefully aren’t plonk, but I guess the prices could be dragged down with the others.


Agree with Kevin’s assessment. It’ goes beyond Supertuscans. Many people capped their budget during recession and never looked back. Those retailer that maintained their purchasing quantities are now stock with several vintages and need to move inventory.


I agree with that assessment likewise. However, I can add that every Christmas season we see huge sales of wine(and most everything else for that matter), often including those with high ratings. I often use the 4th of July sales and Christmas sales as time to stock up on chianti classicos, barolos, BdMs, and a host of other wines that are suddenly marked 20-30% off regular prices. This always happens to reduce inventory. The Great Recession may only be making the need to mark down more drastic this year. But I still believe in the underlying premise that problems with IGT wines is causing major concerns in the Italian market. On my last visit over there last year, I had several winemakers I visited, that went into this in depth. It was getting all intertwined with the addition of cab/merlot to nebbiolo and gs with the cheating going on with DOC wines.

I’m no expert on high $$ Supertuscans, but from my view the energy in the category is water under the bridge.

I too am seeing increasingly big discounts on high-scoring wines. I agree with Gordon in his assessment of the trend from Sangiovese towards almost all Cab/Merlot…and I for me that has removed some of the attractiveness. I’ve been largely underwhelmed by these Bdx blends…perhaps it’s a function of their reaching for some sort of IGT Bdx ‘style’…but I just don’t care for it…and admittedly there does not seem to be any consistent style. In my limited experience, they seem to show best right after opening and then flab out. Maybe I’ve just not found the right ones.

Recently with a friend at a dinner in Vegas at a pretty high-end Italian restaurant, the Som steered me away from a couple of familiar 2004 Brunellos and towards a 2003 Supertuscan Bdx blend (for a few more $$). 03 is not the best vintage, but the 03 BDMs I’ve had have shown very well young, so I went along with the choice as we did not have a lot of decant time. Decanted for about 15 minutes it showed VERY well early on, but it was on the downhill slope by the time my steak arrived.

Similar experience with bottles opened at home.

I’m -1 on this category in general, but I’m still a sucker for the 93 point $75 wine on sale for $25…I guess I need to look at those as $25 decisions that went well for me rather than poorly for the owners/investors of the producer. And I think there are many more of these deals to come.

I guess I have a kind of contrary view of the SuperTuscan market than what has been expressed here. I do not think the category is in an existential crisis, or that it is losing audience as has happened with Oz wines.

Like virtually all categories of premium wines, willingness to pay premium prices is down, and marketplace availability is up. I think that’s about it, although some of the changes in the import and distribution chain in the country have exacerbated and complicated the story as well. Add to that the fact that Tuscan wine business is pretty much as “big business” as Italian wines get, and understanding what bankers and lawyers and corporate prerogatives do to the wine biz, and you’ve got a pretty complete explanation of what you’re seeing happen in the USA market.

At the core, however, STs remain, largely, serious wines that appeal to sophisticated palates and that age well. There’s certainly crummy, overworked stuff in the category, and lots of pretenders to the category that are just imitators of the blend, without the serious effort to make the best wines Italy can produce.

I don’t see this phenomenon really having anything specific to do with Super Tuscans. When wines start out at a higher price than they should, they usually get discounted.

All I’ve got to say is “good”. Italian grapes do just fine on their own or with each other, instead of adulterated with “international” varieties.

Interesting thread Chris and I’ve been wondering the same thing. In general, I’ve been seeing rediculous prices on all wines in all categories. WTSO and Wired For Wine was selling discounted Petrus, I think it was the '06 for $999. I’ve seen Insignia '07 listed at least 3 times by discount sites for $149, If only I was a Cali guy… And Astralis for $159, and that’s just off the top of my head. One of my buddies bought '04 yquem for $150… are you kidding me? And then you go to my favorite level, the 40-55% disounts down to $30 to $50 deals have been out of control. I was getting 35% off mixed cases of burgundy last winter, good stuff too. I’ve bought so much 1/2 priced pinot, champagne, rhone, Italian, and god knows what else this year, I’ve litterally put myself on “Buying Freeze” I was getting out of control with my smoking hot credit card and the floor of the cellar was covered and I was out of places to stuff cases. The deals have been insane, and on very good wines.

And we all know like any good Wine Cocksman, like all ice, it melts, and the ‘buying freeze’ will soon be over and I’ll be back to whoring my credit card for more great deals.

Il Carbonaione
Pergole Torte


BDX Varietals
Vigne d’Alceo
Il Caberlot

All are IGT or “Super Tuscans” that it would be hard to argue are not consistently extremely good if not great.
There are quite a few more I could name


Your obviously one of the very few people of which I spoke. [thumbs-up.gif]