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Top Four- the Best Vin Santo in Tuscany

Vin Santo is a full-bodied dessert wine with honey and dried apricot aromas.

It is typically made with two white grapes, Tuscan Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. Under appellation law (DOC), Vin Santo must have a 70% minimum of both grape varietals. The wine should be aged for a minimum of Three years.

Trebbiano is derived from the Latin word 'Trebula,' meaning farm grape. That much-loved Renaissance foodie and queen of France, Catherine de Medici, took the grape to France when she married Henry II of Valois, king of France. In France, Trebbiano is called Ugni Blanc and is used to produce Cognac and Armagnac.

The Grapes for the Vin Santo are typically picked toward the end of the Wine Harvest. The grapes are left to hang and dry in ventilated rooms. Most Estates leave the grapes to dry from October to December. The raisin-like grapes are pressed and added to small wooden barrels, 'Caratelli.'

The style of making wine from dried grapes has been around since the birth of winemaking. Drying the grapes decreases the water content, making the sugar levels more concentrated. The ancient - Romans would leave the grape on the vine.

This type of technique today is called 'noble rot' French Grape Varietals Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle Grapes are used to make dessert wine in France called Sauternes—ice Wine in Canada, Germany, and even Japan.

In Tuscany toward Pontassieve, the Fattoria Petreto produces a divine 'muffato.' The Italian version of Sauterne, made with Semillon and sauvignon grapes, is called. Pourriture Noble

Vin Santo is typically served with Cantucci, an almond 'biscotti' invented in 1858 by Antonio Mattei. Made with whole almonds, Cantucci is still produced at its original location in Prato.

Other flavors include Pistachio, Hazelnuts, and dark chocolate chunks. A new 'limited edition' with Salted Caramelised Almonds was recently introduced by Gucci Osteria's co-executive chefs Karime Lopez and Takahiro Kondo.

There is quite a difference between the Vin santo served at traditional restaurants in small shot glasses called 'Gotino' with homemade Biscotti and the 'meditative' Vin Santo selection.

The difference starts with drying the grapes for up to Seven Months. After Seven Months, the juice is added to small barrels with the madre ' a mother yeast' passed on from generation to generation. The must is left to age for more than Ten years. 10-20 years. This is a prestigious vin Santo is typically enjoyed from a 'Burgundy wine glass.' with a 75ml pour; here are Four of my favorite producers.

At Castello di Pomino-Grape, varieties of Trebbiano, Tuscan Malvasia, and San Colombano Grapes are left to dry from October to February. The grapes are typically picked in the cooler days of September—the grapes age for seven years in small wooden barrels.

This lengthened time makes the wine sweet and fresh, with an intense complex perfect for ideal with mature or pungent blue cheese.

Ettore Falvo is the strength behind one of the most important and traditional Vin Santo in Tuscany. The first vintage of this internationally acclaimed Vin Santo was in 1976 at Avignonesi Winery—a Wine Estate that borders the Regions of Tuscany and Umbria.

A second vintage in 1978 of a small selection of Tuscan dessert wine, 'Occhio di Pernice' - The eye of the Partridge made with 100% Sangiovese made this location legendary.

The current owner at Avignonesi, Virginie Savery, has continued with the original production of both exclusive dessert wines.

Grapes are left to dry from October to April. They are then soft-pressed, transferred to 50-litre Oak Barrels, and left to age for up to 10 years. It has been calculated that with the same amount of grapes used to produce a 375 ml bottle of Vin Santo or Occhio di Pernice, you can make twenty-four 750 ml bottles of wine!

The Contini Bonacossi Family owners of Tenuta di Capezzana since 1921. The Vin Santo room, called the 'Vinsantaia,' is one of the most stunning locations. You can see the original chestnut, cherry, and oak barrels 'Caratelli' lined perfectly in an authentic farmhouse that looks out to the rolling hills of olive groves and vineyards of the Carmignano Region.

Around Five Thousand Vin Santo di Carmignano D.O.C Reserve bottles are produced using Malvasia and San Colombano— aging for seven years in the barrels 'Caratelli'

La Chimera Vin Santo D.O.C Chianti Classico by Castello di Monsanto. It is made with Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. The Harvest begins in October. Grapes are left to dry until early February. They must age for Ten years. The barrels are exposed to natural seasonal temperatures during this decade of aging. The elegance of this traditional vin santo is even perfect for food pairing.

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