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Region: Tuscany

Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG

Facts about this wine

Wine: White wine
Taste: Dry
Volume: Medium
Min. alcohol: 11%

After a long day's drive, when you drive down over the Po Plain and approach San Gimignano, the city is a welcome sight, situated on a ridge and imposing with its many towers surrounded by a medieval wall. It's not without reason that this city, which lies southwest of Siena, is called "Italy's Manhattan".

A curious thing about the city's many towers is that, in the Middle Ages, the rich families practically vied with each other to see who could build the most and tallest, which meant that, at one point in time, there were 62 towers in the city. Unfortunately, there aren't that many left today, but that doesn't make the city any less breathtaking.

San Gimignano is also the hometown of a particularly glorious white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG. Records show that the wine has been produced since 1286, and, with its DOC classification in 1966, it became Italy's first DOC.

After the awarding of its DOC, the production level unfortunately surpassed the quality, but thankfully the tide turned, and more producers are now striving to raise the bare over the tourist wine class. It was especially after the DOCG classification in 1993, where it was only the second Italian white wine to achieve that status, that things really begin to happen. One of the methods developed to ensure quality has been to significantly reduce the harvest yield.

The grape is called, like the wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano (90-100%) with the addition of local, green grapes (0-10%), and it can produce a beautiful and rather costly wine which is, for the more expensive varieties, aged in barriques before tapping. This gives the wine a complexity and color that makes it well-suited to export.

So how does a Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG taste? Michelangelo Buonarotti wrote in 1643 that Vernaccia "kisses, licks, bites, hits and sticks". Maybe that's where boxing legend Muhammad Ali got his famous quotes from.

At any rate, the wine is a light straw yellow with a tendency towards a more golden color with age. The aroma is fine, and at the same time penetrating and characteristic. The taste is dry and harmonious, with a characteristic bitterness in the aftertaste.

There is also a Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva, where the requirement is a minimum 11.5% alcohol concentration and at least 12 months' aging.

The mandatory aging requirement for the Reserve is 12 months, where 4 months is in the bottle.

Both types are served with most everything on the menu.

Great dishes to have with Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG

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