Vernaccia di San Gimignano to be framed and rediscovered: finesse, personality and harmony much superior to long ago; in the Riserva version it bowls over the Gourmets
Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
For someone from Siena to rediscover Vernaccia di San Gimignano is like for an Eskimo to realize that ice is cold. Something evident hat you have always had under your nose and consequently you do not observe with the necessary attention. This is why the members of the Union Européenne des Gourmets in Siena get bowled over in front of the lavish and elegant character of the Vernaccia Riserva. Obviously the explanations given by Stefano Campatelli and a 15 kg greater amberjack prepared divinely by Nicoletta chef at the Il Mestolo restaurant are accomplices …. the 35 diners have had a collective sense of love at first sight.
The evening was special for me too as I was celebrating my recent nomination as Cavaliere della Repubblica /knighthood) and the Consul Alessandro Bonelli awards me a plaque in the name of the club.
My joy was complete thanks to the presence of Anna Pesenti Buonassisi
journalist, wine and food expert, and great friend of mine. It is impossible for me to charm you with the aromas and the taste of the Vernaccia riserva, you must buy it yourselves for that, but I can tell you a fantastic story regarding this wine as it was told to us by the Director of the Consorzio Campatelli. IT was already on the tables of Kings and Popes at the end of the 13th century. In the 14th century it is written about by Dante, Boccaccio and Cecco Angiolieri. During the Renaissance it is served at the wedding banquet organized for Nannina Medici sister to Lorenzo the Magnificent, at the banquet for the marriage between Isabella d’Aragona, daughter of the king of Naples, and Gian Galeazzo Sforza in Milan, this success lasts through
the whole 17th century. Then the eclipse. The real re birth occurs around 1960 and already in 1966 Vernaccia was the first DOC wine in Italy.
It is made exclusively in the San Gimignano municipality at an altitude between 200 and 400 metres above sea level, the soil of sea origin made up of yellow sand and clays.
The present production of 5 million bottles is fractioned between 172 wineries. It is obtained with at least 85% of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano variety. Fruity, floral when young it has a mineral aroma in the Riserva version. The taste is sapid, dry and harmonious with a bitter almond finish which disappears in the more adult version.
The Vernaccia is one of the very few white wines able to age and it is for this
reason that it is made in the Riserva version too. This type remains in the cellar for at least 14 months of which 3 in bottle. Successively it can last 4-6 years and sometimes even more.
Hurray for Vernaccia then! A wine that we all remembered as good but not charming and that, quite on the contrary, is now living a new season after having reached levels of personality, finesse and harmony never reached before.