GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

September 6, 2011

An Italian wine to try: Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Italian Wine - Vernaccia

Italian wine expert Ciro Pirone has traveled and worked in Italy, England and the United States. In Boston he continued his wine studies at Boston University and the International Sommelier Guild.

Why study Italian wines? Italy and France are the largest wine producing areas in the world. Knowing Italian wines is considered essential to a well-rounded knowledge of the wines of the world.

Wines in Europe are named after the town or area they are from and not the varietals or grapes they are made with.

San Gimignano is a beautiful medieval town south of Siena in Tuscany; at one point it was called the medieval Manhattan for the incredible number of towers built between the 12th and 13th century. The most important local variety is a white grape called Vernaccia (from the Latin word "vernaculus," meaning local or indigenous). The earliest recorded mentions of the wine appear in the 1276 archives of record of San Gimignano. The wine is characteristically dry with crisp acidity and a slightly bitter finish. Modern winemaking has introduced the use of oak aging to give the wine another layer of complexity and roundness.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first Italian white wine to be awarded the DOC status in 1966. The DOC system began in 1963, seeking to establish a method of both recognizing quality product and maintaining the international and national reputation of that product.

A popular and affordable version is the 2010 Vernaccia di San Gimignano made by Castello di Montauto that retails for around $16.

Castello di Montauto is a gorgeous estate owned by the Cecchi family of the Chianti Classico. The 2010 Vernaccia features a blend of 90 percent Vernaccia and 10 percent Sauvignon Blanc. The harvest took place in the first half of September, and the grapes were vinified in stainless steel tanks. On the nose it offers a very elegant bouquet of white flowers, citrus and yellow apple notes. The palate is clean, crisp and refreshing with all the elements well bonded.

Great as an aperitif, to accompany a fish crudo or shellfish.

About this wine

2010 Castello di Montauto, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG (Tuscany), estimated price $15.99

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