Liquid Insights: Super Tuscan Collection
After selling out 1,000 shares of their California Collection offering, Vint returns with a new opportunity that features 216 bottles of the finest Tuscan wines produced in the last decade. The IPO includes four different wines from three separate producers, all of which are Super Tuscan with vintages ranging from 2015-2017.
Price per Share: $36
Total Shares: 1,986
Market Cap: $71,500
Super Tuscan History
Italian winemaking is an ancient practice that predates the Roman Empire, with evidence of wine production discovered in Sicilian caves 6,000 years ago. No grape is more commonly used in Italian wines than Sangiovese. As the fine wine industry developed, regulatory agencies began placing strict requirements on the composition of Italian wines. In order for an Italian wine to receive a certification known as the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Denomination of Controlled Origin), at least 70% was to be made from Sangiovese grapes with the remainder from other native fruit such as Canaiolo and Malvasi. Wines that did not receive the DOC seal of approval were not viewed as prestigious and were often relegated with the title of ‘cheap table wine’.
In the 1970s, wine producers in Tuscany started to break away from the stringent regulations by curating wines made from a concoction of both native and non-native grapes. The rocky soil commonly found in the Tuscan region was more similar to the soil found in the southern coast of France, specifically Bordeaux. The infusion of international grapes into Italian wines was well-received and quickly matured Tuscany into a leader not just within the Italian wine scene, but also on the international stage.
The term “Super Tuscan” was coined in the 1980s and the blend of non-indigenous grapes cultivated on Italian soil became a fixture on the fine wine market throughout the 1990s. In 1992, the governing agency of Italian wines created the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) which became the first recognized quality guide for Super Tuscan blends.
Super Tuscan 101
How to read a Tuscan wine label:
Included in the Vint Super Tuscan Collection are four different wines from three vineyards. The elongated names of wines can look daunting, particularly those sourced outside of the United States. To understand how a wine name is built we broke down one of the offerings featured in Vint’s fund. The full name of the wine is “Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia Bolgheri”.
Tenuta San Guida is the producer of the wine while Sassicaia is the actual wine itself. The final section of a wine name is the region in which it is produced- in this case, Bolgheri. If the wine has received recognition from a quality guide such as IGT, the acronym will be placed at the end of the name.
Where are Super Tuscan wines produced?
Tuscany is a region located in the north central section of Italy. The majority of vineyards located within the Tuscan province are sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and the capital city of Florence.
This location offers a unique balance of coastal seabreeze, which keeps the climate temperate and is contained by the mountainous zones found east of the region. The range of biomes found in Tuscany allows multiple grape varieties to thrive within the region. Sangiovese grapes flourish in the interior hillside vineyards while non-native fruit such as Cabernet Sauvignon prosper in the warmer areas along the coast.
Soil diversity also plays an important role in helping preserve the rich tradition of winemaking in Tuscany. The soil ranges from soft and crumbly clay-limestone found near the rolling hills near Florence, to the dense sandstone that is common near the shoreline. This perfect storm of weather conditions and soil composition has helped Tuscany maintain its position as one of the top wine regions in the world.
What grapes are used in Super Tuscan wines?
While traditional Italian wines use primarily Sangiovese, Super Tuscans utilize a variety of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The latter four are all native to France and were originally only grown for wines produced in the Bordeaux region. Super Tuscan wines take a combination of French grapes and Italian grapes and develop a proprietary blend that is unique to each producer. For example, the 2015 Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia Bolgheri included in the Vint offering features a blend that is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.
Super Tuscans as an Investment
Investors in Tuscan wines have found a safe haven with limited volatility and steady progress. The fine wine market soared in the years leading up to the global financial crisis and outperformed Super Tuscans which took a ‘slow and steady’ approach to appreciation. When the financial crisis slashed investor profits between 2008-2009, Tuscan wines remained constant with prices maintaining an uptrend throughout the chaos. The fine wine market rebounded with a vengeance in 2010, which led to record highs by the spring of 2011. The market turned sour again though in late 2011 in a market crash that carried into 2012. Even amidst the volatility, Super Tuscans appreciation was unabated and by 2014, the Super Tuscan Index had surpassed the Liv-Ex 50 Index for the first time since 2005.
In recent years, Super Tuscan wines have shown stable growth with five specific blends setting the pace for the index. The region benefited in 2020 after the United States placed tariffs on rival wine countries such as France. The tariffs have since been lifted but the Italian wine market, specifically Super Tuscan blends, have continued to demonstrate consistent appreciation.
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