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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is a super Tuscan wine?

—Nguyen Xuan Hoang, Hanoi, Vietnam

Dear Nguyen,

In the 1970s, rebel Tuscan producers decided to use non-Italian grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in their wines, and/or make wines outside of the Chianti zone, disqualifying these wines from using the Chianti name. They were forced to carry the label vino da tavola, or "table wine," normally meant for inexpensive, low-quality wines. These big, rich wines were nicknamed super Tuscans, and it stuck. They're usually expensive, priced at about $100 or more per bottle, and have an appeal for their renegade status. Some of the most famous super Tuscans are Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, Tignanello and Fontalloro.

—Dr. Vinny

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