The Ricasoli family, owners of Castello di Brolio, has been making wine since 1141. It was Barone Bettino Ricasoli who standardized a recipe for Chianti Classico in the mid-19th century. This formula called for sangiovese, the dominant grape, to be blended with red grapes of lesser character, such as canaiolo and mammolo, and two white grapes, malvasia and trebbiano.
During the next 100 years, this recipe remained largely unchanged. But some producers wanted to make a richer, riper style of wine, which would mean eliminating the white grapes. Piero Antinori did that in 1970, but because the wine did not conform to the Chianti Classico recipe, he had to give the wine a different name. He chose Tignanello, the name of the vineyard. The following year, Antinori added cabernet sauvignon to the blend. Tignanello became a sensation, and the blend has remained to this day.
A new type of wine had been created, and soon after, the term "super Tuscan" was coined for any Tuscan red that fell outside the traditional blending laws, but came to describe the most expensive, most full-bodied wine a producer offered.
Tom Hyland, "Dramatic New Chianti Taste," Newsday, May 15, 2002
Ask wine buffs what are the interesting wines coming out of Italy these days, and a string of exotic names springs to their lips Sassicaia, Solaia and Tignanelio from the winemaker Antinori being at the top of the list. There is something else these wines have in common: they are all from small vineyards in Tuscany, are wholly or in part made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and are frightfully expensive.
Although these 'Super Tuscans' have greatly boosted the prestige of Italian wine in general, they have not had much relevance to its best known regional variety, Chianti Classico, which is the largest of Italy's officially sanctioned DOCG categories (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).
Bruce Palling, "Drink: In search of the perfect Chianti," The Independent, August 26 1989
Lifted from The Wordspy