Anteprima della Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a moment to discover a truly unique wine in Tuscany: “The White Queen in a Land of Red Kings”.
Just a few short weeks ago experts, wine enthusiasts and the press gathered in the charming town of San Gimignano on February 16th to taste not only the new vintages of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, but also the reserve wines not yet released on the market. In total, 41 wineries and 96 wines were presented to the Italian and international press at the De Grada Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, in the historical centre of San Gimignano. Then, during the following two weekends these wines were presented to over 200 participants from the wine trade and wine enthusiasts at the Rocca di Montestaffoli, home of the Vernaccia Wine Experience which offered an extraordinary opportunity to meet the “unique, noble and rebellious” White Queen. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the only DOCG white wine to be produced in Tuscany where illustrious reds such as Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico usually take centre stage. United by a great passion for this grape and territory, the Consortium celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It continues to support those who are the custodians and greatest interpreters of an age-old white wine tradition. During this year’s event, Master of Wine Gabriele Gorelli put on a special Masterclass called “Timeless Vernaccia” conducting a vertical tasting of vintages going back as far as 1997, which was a wonderful chance to experience the results achieved with this grape over time and appreciate the longevity of the wines. The President of the Consortium described the latest vintage as a record year due to the continuing drought and high temperatures: “These did not, however, prevent Vernaccia di San Gimignano from reacting masterfully, once again, to the year’s climatic challenges, proving that this ancient, native grape variety has evolved in perfect harmony with its terroir.”
The ancient, crowned hill through the eyes of the queen grape.
As the cradle of white wine production in Tuscany, San Gimigano’s territory is situated completely on hills with variable exposures and altitudes of between 200 and 400m above sea level. Its ancient soils have high concentrations of fossils, shells, calcareous sediments, and clay. This composition is ideal for producing vigorous and mineral-driven white wines, and the unique combinations of all these factors, even in such a small area, makes the wines produced in this denomination extremely fascinating and complex. Vernaccia is an ancient grape that, although grown throughout Italy, thrives particularly well here in San Gimignano which has become its spiritual home. If not for its tiny area of production, it would be much better known to wine lovers in the U.S. Vernaccia di San Gimignano was actually the first Italian wine to be granted DOC status in 1966. It was elevated to DOCG status in 1993, confirming its role as the leading white wine in Tuscany.
San Gigmignano, an enchanting wine destination
Almost half of the San Gimignano county is dedicated to farm production (vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards and grains). It is a place where man and nature have lived together for centuries in a mutual relationship of respect. This indissoluble link has become the theme of the Anteprima tastings because San Gimignano has always been an example of the quality of life, professionalism, and know-how in terms of viticulture. Tucked away in the Tuscan countryside, San Gimignano warmly welcomes wine enthusiasts from all over the world. It is located almost halfway between Florence and Siena (about 60 and 45 km) and is easily reachable by car or by bus. Historically the town was a place loved by important nobles and political figures of the past who left the trace of their passage, enriching this unique place with culture and art. It is known as the “Town of Towers” because in the first centuries after 1000 AD it was embellished with seventy towers and numerous palaces, built by the many wealthy families to display their wealth and power. Today 14 towers still remain creating an unmistakable silhouette overlooking the surrounding Tuscan hills.
During my stay at San Gimignano, I have tasted all the wines, presented by the Consorzio del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 (49 wines reviewed)
on my radar
Winery: Fattoria di Fugnano
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 – Da Fugnano
Brilliant, yellow colour. Intense bouquet of lemon and jasmine flowers with a hint. Lively entrance, with good fruit and crispy acidity. Harmonious finish. A good wine.
Winery: Fattoria San Donato
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022
Pale straw yellow core with greenish rims. Intense bouquet of lemon with a hint of mint. Fragrant, round with ripe fruit and high acidity. Well-structured, mineral, and fresch. I like it!
Winery: Guicciardini Strozzi
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 – Villa Cusona
Yellow core, lighter on the edge. Intense flavour of citrus fruit and green apple. Dry with lovely acidity which matches a good alcohol level. The aftertaste is persistent A lovely wine!
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 – Cesani
Brilliant pale straw core and watery rim. The nose is fresh and fruity with scents of lemon. The mouth is intense and fresh with racy acidity. Quite a long finish. A very good wine!
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 – Suavis
Straw coloured with paler rim. The wine displays an intense perfume white grapefruit, and lemon with a light note of mint. It is vibrant and structured to the palate with harmonious and fresh finish. Good potential.
Winery: Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2022 – Selvabianca
Pale yellow core with greenish hues. The bouquet is intense and ample with notes of grapefruit and ginger. Dry and sapid with bright acidity. Well balanced with good fruit and harmonious end. I liked this wine.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 (15 wines reviewed)
on my radar
Winery: Cappella di Sant’Andrea
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 – Rialto
Brilliant, yellow colour. Intense flavour of ginger with scent of green apple and lemon. . Dry with good acidity and a fruity, good finish with pleasant light notes of almond. A great wine.
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 – Tradizionale
Clear, light gold yellow core with paler reflections. Intriguing nose with flavour of pear and matured fruit with a hint of almond. Lovely, creamy palate with present acidity. A delicious wine!
Winery: Il Palagione
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 – Lyra
Light yellow core. The wine expresses a beautiful bouquet of lime and orange peel.
The acidity matches well with the fruit. Fresh, balanced palate with good persistence.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 Riserva (5 wines reviewed).
on my radar
Winery: Poderi del Paradiso
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2021 Riserva – Biscondola
Medium yellow core with light hues. The wine shows lovely perfume white peach and mango with a light elderflower note. Dry, fragrant palate with good acidity. Rich and elegant aftertaste. I enjoy it!
Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 Riserva (13 wines reviewed).
on my radar
Winery: La Lastra
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 Riserva
Clear gold yellow core with paler reflections. Intense bouquet of peach and jasmine flowers with a hint of mint. Well-structured, mineral, and complex. Lovely wine.
Winery: Tenuta Le Cancinaia
Wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 Riserva – Vigna ai Sassi
Brilliant, yellow colour. It expresses nice aromas of lemon and peach mixed with light notes of acacia. Lovely, creamy palate with present acidity. Discrete alcohol level with good persistence. I enjoyed it.