The Vernaccia di San Gimignano: a white island in a sea of red


The Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) recognized in Italy in 1966, then became the Vernaccia DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin) in 1993 and, for me, it is the one and only true white wine of Tuscany. Comparisons with the Vermentini from the coast or with those of the Colli di Luni (La Spezia and Massa Carrara) or even with the Ansonica del Giglio or Orbetello are endless but, as far as I am concerned, I prefer it both for its identity and for its features.

It is a wine that always fascinates me even for its ancient history, already known and mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and I have to admit that every time I went to the preview of the Vernaccia, an event organized by the Consortium itself, I could see the growth of this white wine thanks to new winemaking techniques and investment of the same companies in equipment to produce it.

In the 80s and 90s it was a cheap wine, unappreciated and mistreated in Italy but in recent years it is growing with more and more success, even abroad, where it is more and more esteemed.

Organoleptic characteristics

Color: pale yellow which with aging tends to become golden.

Fruity aromas: citrus and broom (a plant typical of our hills with yellow flowers).

Richness: mineral (flint and sulfur naturally acquired with aging).

Taste: fresh (acidity is one of the characteristics of the grape), persistently dry with an almond finish.

The grape used is present only in San Gimignano and is the Vernaccia but other non-aromatic white grape varieties such as Cabernet or Chardonnay can also be added but, according to the specification, they must not exceed 10%.

Produced types: Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG and DOCG Riserva, the latter not necessarily passed through wood.

The Vernaccia goes well with fish cooked in the oven, boiled fish, white meat, omelets with vegetables, Tuscan soup, rice salads and also with light fried fish and vegetables.

Serving temperature: 8-10° C for the DOCG or 12-14°C for the Reserve.

Andrea Ranfagni

Sommelier FISAR


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Foto di Hans-Peter Hein

Foto in alto di Alberto Dè

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