Known for their bold, big-bodied flavors, super-Tuscan wines first came on the market during the 1970s. Tuscan winemakers were unhappy with the restrictions placed on making Chianti, the region’s signature wine, so they began experimenting with new grapes. Today, super-Tuscans often contain grapes similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese. The term “super-Tuscan” is used to differentiate these wines from cheap, low-quality table wine. Due to the differing mixtures of grapes, super-Tuscan wines can range in flavor from Chianti-style wines to Bordeaux or Cabernet types.

Small Bites

Super-Tuscan wines are known for their bold flavor, so you’ll want to choose an appetizer that packs a punch of its own. Create a charcuterie board with salty, smoky meats like salumi, speck and prosciutto. Lay out small bowls filled with olives and briny gherkins. Pat├ęs also pair nicely with big-bodied super-Tuscans.

Vegetarian Options

Opt for rich, earthy flavors to highlight the complex notes in super-Tuscan wines. portobella, porcini and other bold mushrooms are up to the task. Try using truffle butter or truffle oil to flavor your dish. Bitter greens like kale, arugula and rapini provide a nice contrast to the wine. Use soft, creamy white beans or polenta as a base for your meal. Flavorful cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano add a rich creaminess as well.

Meaty Main Dishes

A big, bold wine deserves a big, bold cut of meat. Super-Tuscan wines are right at home with rich beef dishes like grilled steak or a well-seasoned roast. Other red meat dishes like lamb chops and osso buco, a dish made of braised veal shanks, are ideal. Herb-rubbed pork roasts and rich sausages will complement the wine’s strong flavors.

Tuscan-Inspired Dishes

Think regionally for a surefire way to successfully pair wines with food. Tuscan food is notorious for its rich, hearty dishes like pasta and braised meats. Tomatoes also feature heavily in Tuscan cuisine, and their acidity is ideal for balancing super Tuscans’ bold flavors. While chicken couldn’t normally stand up to a super-Tuscan on its own, regional favorites like pasta and tomatoes make a dish like chicken cacciatore an ideal accompaniment.