“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 ! 

Great Italian Wines Masterclass – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties – Fiano and Primitivo

I attended another amazing Masterclass last night. The seminar was led again by the knowledgeable Sandra Colosimo, a member of the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers.

Sandra explored, in-depth, the Fiano and Primitivo varieties. The seminar not only gave me a deeper appreciation of two of the most important varietals of southern Italy, it also gave me a sense of the history and geography of Campania and Puglia (which I love).

Here are details on the two wines tasted:

  1. 2018 Fiano di Avellino DOCG

Varietal: 100% Fiano (organic)
Vinification/Aging: The wine remains on the fine lees for 12 months in stainless steel; further aging 12 months in the bottle
Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes:
Straw-yellow in colour, expresses scents of pear, peach, hazelnuts and aromatic herbal notes on the nose; a fine bouquet opens up to a palate of some smokey and spicy flavours with refreshing minerality; good body and excellent balance.  What a wonderful surprise!

  1. 2017 Carvinea Primitivo (Organic) IGTAging/Vinification: 20-day maceration with skins, aged in French oak 9 months,
    with 6 additional months in the bottle.
    Alcohol: 14.5%

Tasting Notes:
Deep ruby in colour; on the nose are pronounced aromas of mulberry, black plum, black cherry, with slight notes of smoke and vanilla; It’s packed with black cherry, mulberry, spices, vanilla, tobacco and dark chocolate flavours, leading to a long finish; It is a well-balanced wine; tannins are present, but are elegant and soft. Beautiful wine

The two wines were beautifully paired with Terroni Mezzo e Mezzo antipasto plate with specialty meats and cheeses: Prosciutto Crudo di Parma DOP, Soppressata Piccante Grana Padano DOP, Fior di Latte Olive verdi di Cerignola Focaccia Barese.

Wonderful Virtual Experience!  #lovepuglia

#italianwine #toronto #Italianwinelover #wineeducation #wine #instawine #winelover #winelovers #sommlife #sommelier  #terroni
#vino #winestagram #wineoclock #winetasting #wineagency  #trueitaliantaste #masterclass #friday #italianfood #italianstyle #italianwinery #italianwinetasting #redwine #whitewine #extraordinaryitaliantaste #Salento #Puglia #iffoodcouldtalk

@italchambers @trueitaliantaste @cavinonawine

 

New Chianti Classico subzones or ‘UGAs’ have been approved

Last week at the June 2021 assembly of Chianti Classico’s governing Consorzio, a “very large majority” of Consorzio members approved changes to the disciplinare that have the potential to put some separation between the Riserva and the Gran Selezione levels. Here are two key aspects to the proposal:

  • Focus on Sangiovese and native grape varieties

The current rules for all Chianti Classico wines require a minimum of 80% Sangiovese, but the new GS level will strengthen the connection with that variety (and push the wines a little closer to those of Brunello di Montalcino) by raising the requirement to 90%. Additionally, the remaining 0–10% of the wine will be restricted to native Italian grape varieties (e.g., Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, etc.). International varieties will not be permitted in Gran Selezione bottlings; and

  • Zonation

The Consorzio has come to an agreement on a first order of non-overlapping subzones that will allow producers to highlight and promote local variations within the 20-mile-long Chianti Classico denomination. These will be officially known as UGAs (unità geografiche aggiuntive, “additional geographical units”). It does not appear that there will be a requirement for a GS wine to be from a single UGA, but those that are will be able to carry the subzone name on the label.

Chianti Classico DOCG includes all or part of nine communes, and the new UGAs will follow commune boundaries to a large extent (see accompanying map). The communes of Castellina, Gaiole, Radda, and San Casciano will remain intact as subzones, while the three partial communes of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi, and Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa will be combined as the San Donato in Poggio UGA. The commune of Greve will become four UGAs: Greve, the highly regarded frazioni of Panzano and Lamole, and the lesser known frazione Montefioralle. Finally, the southern commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga will be broken into two UGAs: Castelnuovo Berardenga and Vagliagli (which is destined to be added to the list of most mispronounced wine locations).

Apparently, there is already talk about extending the use of these UGAs to the basic and Riserva levels as well as GS.

This proposal will have several hoops to jump through before it becomes official, then the wines will be required at least 2½ years of aging before release.

 

 

Preview Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2021 — by Filippo Magnani

Wine, history and tradition all mixed in this extraordinary wine region!

The “Anteprima” preview of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, usually held in February , was postponed to the 17th and 18th of May. Another great effort by another Tuscany’s consortium, opening their doors to international and Italian journalists. We were summoned to the beautiful town of Montepulciano, in the heart of the village, inside the suggestive Medici fortress where the Consorzio del Vino Nobile and the Enoliteca are located. You can feel the history above your head, surrounded by art, soft hills, vineyards and monuments! Extraordinary. 

The event, this year, is unique in its kind since the Consortium reserved for us a surprise! Indeed the preview was an opportunity to not only to evaluate actual vintages on the market such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018 and the 2017 Reserves, Rosso di Montepulciano DOC 2019 but also to present the exciting new type of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; the denomination “Pieve” which will hit the market as early as 2024.

12 subzones and additional geographical units, represented by different Pievi (churches). The idea behind the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Pieve”, came from a scientific study which required the consent and collective participation of all the wine producers.

The Pieve originally was a church-owned building in charge of many duties, functioning not only as a church but also as a small hospital and as the village municipality. It is a name that will be a path between the past and future, intertwining the old culture and local winemaking with the international future and innovative production techniques. The grape blend will be tied to Sangiovese (also locally known as “Prugnolo Gentile”) and complementary native only Tuscan varieties allowed by the Consortium, with grapes exclusively produced by the producers and coming from vines that are at least fifteen years old. Another important factor is the implementation of an internal commission within the Consortium composed of oenologists and wine technicians. These experts will be delegated the task of assessing the characteristics that correspond to the specification before the required legislative steps.

Such interesting wines will represent the quality of this magnificent territory holding a precious history.

 

 

 

 

on my radar

                                      Winery:  Bindella – Tenuta Vallocaia
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018 
Ruby core with rims. Intense bouquet of cherry with balsamic overtones and slight scent of black pepper. Lovely entrance, round with ripe fruit, medium body. Firm, velvety tannins with a long finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery: Dei
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby core with narrow light garnet rim. Intense nose of ripe plum and notes of rhubarb and new leather. Powerful structure with ripe red fruit, fragrant with well integrated silky tannins. Elegant with a long finish. Lovely wine. 

 

Winery:  Poderi Boscarelli  
Wine:  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Brillant, ruby red with compacted rim. Pronounced flavour of cassis and violet. Spicy with overtones of leather. Full bodied with quite bright acidity. Well balanced with rich red fruit and elegant tannins. Harmonious finish. Charming wine with ageing potential.  

Winery:  Poliziano
Wine:    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Ruby colour turning slightly purple. The nose expresses flavours of red fruit and rhubarb with a hint of mint. The palate is balanced with notes of ripe cherry and prune. Dry and fragrant, with soft tannins and long persistence.                                               Full body with a nice end.  Great wine. 

Winery:  La Ciarliana
Wine:   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Clean with a deep ruby core. Lovely aromas of ripe plum with a touch of vanilla. Blackcherry in the palate with a light toasty scent. Full body with round, sweet tannins. Fresh and harmonious finish. I like it ! 

 

Winery:  Salcheto
Wine:      Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg 2018
Bright with paler reflections. Pronounced flavour of red cherry, wild blueberry and balsamic notes and anice. Rich and well structured, good balance of body, fruit, acidity and velvety tannins. Lovely wine. 

 

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 Riserva
[wines 15 reviewed]

The Riservas 2017 turned out to be rich and ripe with intense fruit. The wines showed good structure, sweet tannins, and a discrete alcohol presence. 

on my radar

Winery:  Tenuta Valdipiatta
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Deep ruby core, paler on the hedge. Complex nose with flavours of dark cherry, prune and chocolate. Juicy palate with good acidity, discrete alcohol level and soft tannins. Fragrant and long. I like this wine! 

Winery:  Tenuta della Talosa
Wine:     Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant deep red. Attractive bouquet of strawberry and violet mixed with spicy notes of black pepper. Full body with lots of red fruit in the center palate with smoky scents on the back. It expresses harmony with velvety tannins and long, fresh finish. Lovely wine. 

Winery:  Le Berne
Wine:  Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva
Brilliant, deep ruby core with violet hues. Intense flavour of black cherry and liquorice with overtones of lavender and new leather. Fragrant entrance with discrete alcohol and ripe fruit. Sweet, velvety tannins and quite long aftertaste. Harmonious, charming wine.

Winery:  La Braccesca
Wine:   Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano Docg 2017 Riserva, Vigneto Santa Pia
Colour ranging from deep ruby core to lighter rim. It shows a lovely bouquet of ripe plum, violet and chocolate with a hint of tobacco. Full body with lively acidity well integrated with rich red fruit. Silky tannins with elegant finish. Great wine. 

 

THE 2020 HARVEST 

The year 2020 was defined by four key periods; germination from the 28th of March to the 19th of April; flowering from the 22nd to the 31 May; fruit ripening between the 21st of July and 21st August and the harvest which began on the 15th of September. Heavy rains interfered with harvesting operations, and in some areas of the appellation they continued without interruption. For this reason, the harvest was extended until the first week of October to avoid botrytis infections and a drop in yield quality. The wines of 2020, when tasted, demonstrated intense colors, a fine varietal aromatic expression and structure that is supported by medium acidity and tannins. On an analytical level, one can detect normal values of intensity and color tone, acidity, pH, extracts, and total polyphenols. The alcoholic grades are medium to high. Balance and elegance are keywords to describe the eccentricities of 2020 wines.

Montepulciano 

Near the city of Siena, Nobile di Montepulciano D.O.C.G., Rosso di Montepulciano D.O.C and Vin Santo di Montepulciano D.O.C, are exclusively made within the city limits of the town of Montepulciano, near the city of Siena. We are talking of a territory that has been a wine production zone for centuries, witness to not only the progress in cultivation techniques but also of the geopolitical impact on those “noble” hills. We have known these hills as a wine territory since the 17th century. It is a place that captured the attention of elite and noble families of Tuscany and was recognized as one of the finest red wine areas of the region. Vino Nobile has been one of Italy’s most esteemed wines for centuries, though it has been eclipsed in recent times by other Tuscan wines. The turning point was 1980 with the birth of the Consortium. In the last 15 years, the consortium has made enormous efforts to elevate the production in Montepulciano. Only in the recent decades Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has witnessed amazing growth in terms of winemaking techniques and quality. Today, the roughly 70 producers of Montepulciano believe that the Sangiovese produced in this district can top the levels of excellence of the other Tuscan icon wines.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
International Markets

Always a big “Thank You” to my colleague, and friend, Liz Palmer !

 

Filippo Magnani

Valpolicella Soars in 2021

The Valpolicella Wine Consortium has recently announced the numbers for the first five months of 2021.  The numbers show around 30 million state seals were issued for the Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto origins, which is 18% over 2020.

Compared to 2019, the increase is 14%.  Amarone, which after a disastrous January 2021 (-24.5 %), accelerated to a sensational 38 % increase by May 31. According to the consortium’s analysis, these are the best figures of the last decade. “A total of 7.4 million bottles were brought to market in this period, two million more than last year. Not only is the quantity excellent, but the performance also gives us hope. According to the latest price list of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona, the open goods have increased by 4.5 percent,” Christian Marchesini, president of the consortium, states. The figures are due to a combination of the restrictive measures of the consortium as well as the high flexibility of many small businesses, which immediately knew how to move on unfamiliar terrain like e-commerce and food retail.

Valpolicella achieved an overall growth of 14 % after a strong pick-up in the month of May (+48 percent). Ripasso closed with an increase of twelve %. Stocks are down for all typologies of Valpolicella, especially Amarone and Recioto. In May 2021, five million bottles less were registered than in May 2020 (-8 percent).

Source:  Valpolicella Wine Consortium