“Anteprima 2021”- Wine Preview of Vernaccia di San Gimignano by Filippo Magnini 

“The ancient crowned hill through the eyes of the queen grape”

When you are in the direction of San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany, you cannot help but be enveloped by the magical atmosphere, you get catapulted into a fairy-tale. The hills of “Queen Vernaccia” crown the city of San Gimignano; at its foot lies the most fascinating and characteristic landscape of the Val d’Elsa. Impressive from a distance are the tips of the “crown”, a little Manhattan of the Middle Ages. The city of San Gimignano in the first centuries after 1000 AD was embellished with seventy towers and numerous palaces, built by the many wealthy families to display their wealth and power. Still today, the fourteen beautiful towers remain to characterize the city center and to make the unique and recognizable silhouette of the crowned hill. It is right inside the walls of the beautiful San Gimignano that every year we have the pleasure to taste the new vintages of wines made in this fascinating territory.

The event this year was different from the usual February schedule. The Anteprima Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2021, in fact, was a month-long event that started on Wednesday the 19th of May and closed on Monday the 14th of June. The first day was dedicated exclusively to the Italian and international press. For the occasion, the consortium chose two principal venues: the De Grada Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, where all the journalists and writers were called to taste and evaluate the latest vintages of the sixty-nine wines produced by thirty-four wineries (Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2020, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva 2018); and the Dante’s Chamber in the Town Hall for the 16th edition of the ‘White Wine and Its Territories’ series: “Vernaccia in Comedy”.  A choice linked to the tradition and history of Italy. In fact, this year is the 700th anniversary of the death of the poet Dante. The consortium has intertwined the main six female protagonists of Dante’s work and 6 characteristic white wines of the territory of San Gimignano. These six samples were chosen to be compared with as many wines from those that are among the major denominations for white wines: Alto Adige Valle Isarco Veltliner, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Orvieto Classico Superiore, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Blanc and Palette Blanc. A so-called ‘battle’ between elegant queens, in a magnificent hall that narrates through its frescoes the path of our life.

TASTING REPORT 

During my stay at San Gimignano, I blind-tasted all the wines, which were majestically presented by the Consorzio del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 (34 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Fattoria di Fugnano
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Da Fugnano 

Brillant with pale straw core and watery rim. Pronounced flavour of pineapple with peachy overtones. Dry and sapid with bright acidity. Well balanced with good fruit and harmonious finish.  I like this wine.

Winery:  Fattoria San Donato
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 

Pale yellow core with greenish hues. The nose is fresh and fruity with scents of lemon and apricot. Vibrant entrance with medium alcohol. Dry with good acidity and a fruity finish. Lovely wine.

Winery:  Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Selvabianca 

Pale yellow core, lighter on the edge. Intense flavour of citrus fruit and green apple with light floral notes. Dry with lovely acidity which matches a good alcohol level. The aftertaste is persistent with pleasant notes of almond at the end. Very good wine !

Winery:  Il Palagione
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Hydra 

Straw coloured with paler rim. The bouquet is intense and ample with notes of grapefruit and apricot with scents of ginger. The mouth is intense and fresh with racy acidity. Quite a long finish. Fine, charming wine !

Winery: San Benedetto
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Selvabianca 

Clear with lemon colour turning slightly green on the rim. It expresses nice aromas of lemon and peach mixed with light notes of acacia. The acidity matches well with the rich fruit. Balanced palate with quite a long persistence.  I really appreciate it.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 (18 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Montenidoli
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Fiore 

Deep yellow core, lighter on the edge. The wine expresses a beautiful bouquet of lime and orange peel with overtones of thyme and mint. It is vibrant and structured to the palate with harmonious and fresh finish. Great potential for the ageing.

Winery:  Mormoraia
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Ostrea

Intense straw core with paler reflections. Intriguing nose with flavour of pear and maruted fruit with a hint of almond.  Lovely, creamy palate with present acidity. Discrete alcohol level with fresh finish. Delicious wine !

Winery:  Panizzi
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Vigna Santa Margherita 

Colour ranging from medium yellow core to lighter rim. Intense flavour of lemon with scent of candied apricot. Slight notes of vanilla. Dry, lively palate with good acidity. Rich and elegant aftertaste.  Great wine.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva (10 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Cappella di Sant’Andrea
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva  – Prima Luce 

Brilliant, deep yellow colour. Intense bouquet of lemon and jasmine flowers with a hint of mint. Fragrant entrance, round with ripe fruit and good acidity.  Well structured, mineral and complex.  I really like it !

Winery:  Cesani
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva – Sanice 

Medium yellow core with lighter hues. The wine displays an intense perfume white peach, grapefruit, and lemon with a light buttery note. Dry, sapid and intense with good acidity and freshness. Well balanced and harmonious. Excellent wine.

Winery:  Guicciardini Strozzi
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva

Medium yellow core with paler rims. Clean with beautiful nose of ripe apricot and mango with flowery overtones and a hint of almond. Medium body with lively acidity and freshness. The alcohol is well balanced with the fruit.  Elegant aftertaste.  Great wine.

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THE 2020 VINTAGE  

2020 was characterised by an excellent seasonal trend. The onset of the vegetative stages was a little early but still normal for the long term. The harvest also started a week earlier than in 2019. The health of the grapes was excellent and their quality was good, albeit slightly lower than the previous year. The wines of this vintage are smooth and round, have good aromas and their acidity is not excessive.

SAN GIMIGNANO AND ITS QUEEN GRAPE VERNACCIA 

San Gimignano is a small town of Siena, rich in charm and history. The village of San Gimignano is located almost halfway between Florence and Siena (about 60 and 45 km), and is easily reachable by car or a bus. It is a territory situated completely on hills at altitudes between 200 and 400 m above sea level. The soils are of the Pliocene era, dating back between 6.8 and 1.8 million years. And it is certainly the composition of the ancient soil that makes the wines produced in this denomination extremely fascinating and complex. The terroir of this area is characterized by the presence of fossils and shells, it is composed of pliocene soil and clay. These extremely calcareous sediments make the soil ideal to create vigorous and mineral white wines.The surface area of the Municipality of San Gimignano is of about 12,500 hectares, 5,600 of which are destined to farm productions (vineyards, olive groves, cereal crops). The San Gimignano hills present variable exposures, altitudes, soil compositions and availability of water. The multiple and sometimes unique combinations of these single factors have, even in such a small area, a significant effect on the characteristics of the wines made there.  The combination of the unique variables for wine growing in San gimignano: different exposures, altitudes, soil compositions and water…, determine, even in such a restricted area, a significant impact on the characters of the wines produced there.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a white grape variety present in Tuscan since ancient times. Its bunches are large, long and pyramidal in shape, with an average density of compact and medium berries, round, very pruinose with thick peels. It has an unmistakable amber color when it is shone by the sun. A vine that finds its perfect condition in growing in calcareous-clay or tuffaceous soils

Always a big thanks to my colleague and friend Liz Palmer ! 

Women in Wine Talks with Chile and Argentina [October 20, 2020] Another Successful Sold Out Event!

I would like to thank our Women of Wine Talks panel members today who hail from Chile and Argentina. Each discussed their wineries, terroir, and other conditions that make their wines unique. During the last 15 minutes of the talk, there was a Q and A discussion period on sustainability, vineyards 1,000 meters above sea level, the wide variety of climates and valleys, in particular a cold climate valley in Chile, and the wine varieties that are emerging.

 Panel Members:

CHILE

Viviana Navarrete – Chief Winemaker of Viña Leyda

Viña Leyda was a pioneer in the development of cold climate coastal vineyards in Chile. Located just 4km from the sea, the marine influence sustains temperatures around 13°C. This allows the grapes to ripen very slowly, enhancing and improving its flavors, aromas and natural acidity, whilst providing a saline character to the wines. As such, Viña Leyda requested the creation of a new ” Leyda Valley” Appellation of Origin, which became official in 2002 giving rise to a new style of wine.  The Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs by Viña Leyda enjoy great international prestige.

ARGENTINA

Susana Balbo  Owner & Chief Winemaker of Susana Balbo Winery

After more than 30 years offering her talent to the service of national and international wineries, in 1999 Susana Balbo decided to make her dream come true, to have her own winery. It was at this point in time that she started the construction of Susana Balbo Wines, which is in the heart of Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza.

Also, after over 10 years of sustained growth in the international wine trade, another dream of Susana´s came true: her children, José, a winemaker from UC Davis University (California) and Ana, Business Administration major from San Andrés University, joined the Susana Balbo Wines team.

Susana and her team comply with the highest international quality standards in all their processes, including Sustainability and Corporate Social responsibility platforms. Their philosophy is to produce terroir-driven wines to express the unique characteristics of each varietal. Susana Balbo Wines are amongst the most recognized and awarded wines in Argentina.

Andrea Ferreyra, Chief Winemaker Finca La Celia

A Pioneer is someone that leaves behind a unique legacy. Eugenio Bustos was one of them. When he arrived to Uco Valley, Argentina, more than 100 years ago, he sold his best horses to purchase land and planted a varietal grape from France, giving birth to Finca La Celia, named after his daughter. La Celia is the oldest winery in the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. This vineyard was the first one to plant Malbec in the region, which currently is the most iconic varietal from Argentina. La Celia has 400 hectares planted and ever since its first production, Finca La Celia has never stopped innovating. Their committed team of professionals, pursue their dream of producing excellent wines recognized worldwide, pushing the envelope always a little bit further, constantly innovating.

This group of formidable women leaders have been and are committed to the development of wine in their countries and internationally.

They have demonstrated through their life and work, and their leadership in their fields, that women make a difference. They have become incredible role models for their countrywomen and women internationally — and serve as an inspiration across countries, regions, and generations.

Thank you!

Women in Wine Talks with Chile and Argentina – October 20, 2020 1:00 PM EDT

It is our great pleasure to invite you to be part of an exclusive “live talk” with five trailblazing women leading the Chilean and Argentine wine Industry into the future.

Join us as the panelists discuss their regions, share an intimate look at their wineries and discuss their commitment to crafting exceptional wines while preserving the natural environment.

Panelists:

Wines of Chile – Viviana Navarrete of Viña Leyda; and Emily Faulconer of Viña Carmen

and

Wines of Argentina – Susana Balbo of Susana Balbo Winery; and Andrea Ferreyra of Finca La Celia

October 20, 2020 – 1:00 pm (EDT) Zoom

Zoom link to join the Women in Wine Talks October 20 1:00 pm EDT
[complimentary ticket] https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-in-wine-talks-with-chile-and-argentina-tickets-123908055329?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1#

We look forward to seeing you!


	

San Pedro is launching a new wine brand to support (Glaciares Chilenos) Patagonian Glaciers

 

Chile’s Viña San Pedro is launching a new sustainable, organic wine brand called “South Cause” which will raise money to support Glaciares Chilenos, an NGO that aims to conserve Patagonian glaciers.

San Pedro, which is part of the VSPT group is launching the new wine brand in Europe, North America, and north Asia by the end of the year.

Labeled “South Cause” the new brand comprises four different wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and a rosé, all targeted towards millennials and the younger generation of wine drinkers.

Rodrigo Romero, vice-president of global marketing for VSPT, described the new wine label as an “activist brand”, and he states:

“So far most of the things we have done have been in-house. We heard about Glaciares Chilenos and thought maybe we could have a role in this. And what better way to do it than create a new brand that stands for this sentiment. It proves it’s not an after-thought. It’s a range of quality wines that also embrace the cause.”

The wines are certified organic and vegan, will be released in eco-friendly packaging, which is either made from recycled materials or is itself recyclable.

VSPT has recently pledged to reduce the quantity and weight of its bottles and packaging so that 100% are separable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030.

Sales of “South Cause” wines, will be priced between US$12-$15 per bottle, depending on the market, and will directly benefit Glaciares Chilenos.

VSPT has signed an agreement with the NGO which will see it give the organization a set lump sum each year to fund its scientific research and educational campaigns. The NGO will also receive a variable amount of money each year, based on sales of the wine.

Glaciers act as climate regulators, reflecting between 45% and 80% of the sun’s light, helping to cool the earth’s temperature. Glacier-melt causes sea levels to rise, leading to flooding and the loss of land. In the last six years, Chile’s glaciers have decreased by 8%, the equivalent of 1,800 Olympic-sized pools.

Glaciares Chilenos is dedicated to the preservation of Chile’s Patagonian ice fields, which represent 82% of the glaciers found in South America. The issue is particularly pressing given that 70% of the Chilean population is supplied with water originating from mountainous areas and the glacier refill zone.