Vernaccia is delicately aromatic with a bouquet of white flowers, pear and honeysuckle with a firm citrusy freshness. This Vernaccia is very Italian in the way that it is light, fresh, cleansing and simple. But pair it with a pasta and white sauce, or some grilled fish, and all of a sudden it seems like you are in heaven.
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Maria and Neil Empson own the Toscolo brand. The name means “Tuscany Boy”, and that sums up the philosophy too. Classic Chianti and Vernaccia di San Gimignano which are easy-going and food-friendly.
Possibly referring to ‘vernacular’ and therefore transferring to several ‘local’ varieties in Italy. In Vernaccia, we have a crisp, dry white wine with hints of pear, honeysuckle and white flowers.
San Gimignano DOCG
San Gimignano, the towered medieval village that is one of Tuscany’s finest gems. The region elevated to DOCG status in 1993. The wines of the area are crisp, dry and straightforward, but that is also their beauty.
When most people think of Central Italy, they think of Tuscany. Not surprisingly because Chianti is an ocean of vineyards within the winegrowing region of Central Tuscany. Chianti produces more than 750000 hectolitres of wine each year. Tuscany’s wine history starts somewhere in the 8th-5th Century BCE when it was part of Etruria. Vernaccia from San Gimignano and reds from Montepulciano were known and loved before the Renaissance. The Tuscany we know now started in the 19th Century with Chianti gaining the ascendancy. Brunello di Montalcino debuted in 1888, and the Super Tuscans took shape in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Beyond Tuscany, there are the magical places of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Umbria. Each site has its own history and personality that deserve a night of their own. Better still, a few nights in situ.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
It is interesting to know that you can make white wine from almost any grape. The colour comes from the skins, and if there is no contact, there is no colour. White wines tend to be delicate, perfumed, higher in acid and lower in alcohol. It seems for this and many other reasons, it is hard to make an incredibly impressive white wine. But those that have mastered the art are indeed some of the best winemakers in the world.
It is a falsehood to think that white wine does not age as well as red wine. But it is correct that white wine, as a rule, doesn’t age for as long.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.