Allegrini 2018

“Anteprime di Toscana 2023”: the tasting of Vernaccia di San Gimignano

“White queen” in land of great reds, returns to pre-pandemic values and lucidly deals with climate change, both in the vineyard and in the winery

Vernaccia di San Gimignano, the “white queen” in a territory of “great reds” such as Tuscany, is showing itself to be healthy, and recovering on the markets what it had left on the ground with the pandemic. There are 36,352.28 hectoliters of Vernaccia di San Gimignano produced in the 2022 vintage, while just over 4,600,000 bottles produced and certified at the end of the same year, for a turnover of 13 million euros: values that, after the slight decrease in 2020 and the slight increase in 2021, return to coincide almost perfectly with the pre-pandemic ones, with a slight increase in national turnover (48% of the wine produced - up from 42% in 2021 - of which 40% is sold in the San Gimignano territory, 30% in Tuscany and the remaining 30% in the rest of Italy) and export that remains strong in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, England, Japan, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden, for the remaining 52%. This is the picture of a healthy and stable appellation, which today unveiled the new vintages soon to be released on the market - Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2022, Vernaccia San Gimignano Selezione and Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva 2021 and 2020 - during the week of “Anteprima di Toscana” 2023, now in the home stretch.
An edition that finally returned to its original format, with the presence of the producers' tasting stands: 41 wineries and 96 wines for tasting, all previews, including the older vintages of 2022 and 2021, still strictly off the market. The palaces that hosted the event are the historic ones of a jewel-village-declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 and known, as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”, for the 65 medieval towers it housed- that has been able to guard throughout the centuries a vocated viticulture notoriously celebrated since the Middle Ages by the greatest artists and poets of Italy: already present on the tables of popes and kings, it was mentioned, the only wine to be so, by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy, in Canto XXIV of Purgatory, painted by Vasari in the frescoes of the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio at the request of Duke Cosimo I of the Florentine Medici family, and then mentioned in the lines written by authors of the caliber of Cecco Angiolieri, Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, Francis Scott . .. A wine and a grape variety so strongly linked to its country that in 1966 it earned Italy’s first Controlled Designation of Origin, which became Guaranteed in 1993.
It is a small historic Tuscan appellation protected by a Consortium established in 1972, which now has 79 members. By contrast, the total number of producers present is 170 and they cultivate 750 hectares of vines registered for Vernaccia di San Gimignano (out of the municipality’s total agricultural area of 5,600 hectares, 2,000 of which are planted with vines). The Disciplinare of the same - last amended in 2014 - typically stipulates that every stage of production takes place within the territory of the ancient city of San Gimignano; the yield per hectare must not exceed 9 tons of white grapes, with a minimum of 85% up to 100% of Vernaccia di San Gimignano vines defining the composition of the wine. Added value to the appellation is the “construction” of the Riserva: it is one of the very rare Italian wines that must be claimed with the mention “Riserva”, already at the harvest stage. The production regulation then requires a minimum aging of 11 months of which at least 3 in the bottle before release for consumption, but it leaves free choice to the producer on the type of wine jar to be used, creating in fact a very varied range of results within the same label category. In addition to Vernaccia di San Gimignano, the Consortium also protects San Gimignano Rosso (which admits the use of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir grape varieties), San Gimignano Rosato, and Vin Santo, also in the Occhio di Pernice version.
Morphologically speaking, the territory of the municipality of San Gimignano - which covers 138 square kilometers - is spread over an elevation difference between a minimum of 64 meters above sea level and a maximum of 631 meters. Until a few years ago the average rainfall was around 600-700 mm annually, with good ventilation during all periods of the year, rare episodes of fog and snowfall. The soils are of Pliocene origin, dating from 6.8-1.8 million years ago, and rich in marine fossils that are frequently encountered while walking through the rows. Soils intended for viticulture are, in fact, those formed on marine Pliocene deposits and consisting of yellow sands (tuff) and yellow clays that are in turn, often stratified on more compact clays (blue clays) present at depth. They are average soils with little skeleton and organic matter, with widespread presence of tuff and cavernous limestone substrates, but due to the presence of sands they are well drained.
For the vintages being tasted, much has already been said about the extreme drought faced in 2022, which was accompanied by hailstorms - fortunately sparse - in June and July, the hottest temperatures on record since the 1800s, and strong winds, which further exacerbated the dryness of the soil and, consequently, the water stress on the plants. Salvific, once again, were the August thunderstorms, which gave breath to the vines. Cluster development, which started about ten days early, then slowed down due to heat and drought, falling within traditional ripening times. The August rains allowed the berries to develop sufficient acid and sugar supply, also achieving good phenological ripeness; grapes on the whole even healthier, given the little use of synthetic plant protection in the vineyard during the spring-summer development of the vines. Although still premature (many wines were bottled very few days ago), the result so far in the glass are decidedly perfumed wines with good alcohol content but fairly well blended into the savory structure of Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
2021 was also hot, with extreme heat spikes and the early April frost both contributing to lower grape production. Spring and fall rains, on the other hand, hydrated the soil and vines sufficiently, helping the clusters ripen slowly and gradually, able to form good acidity levels, low ph and not excessive alcohol levels. The result was wines with good structure, capable of aging well. Summer heat also characterized the 2020 vintage - from June to August, with a more substantial water supply, which made it possible to bring healthy, balanced grapes to the winery, capable of yielding wines of excellent flesh, complex and smooth.

Here are the WineNews staff’s top tastings:
San Quirico, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2022
Tenuta Le Calcinaie, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2022
Abbazia Monteoliveto, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Gentilesca 2022
Guicciardini Strozzi, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Villa Cusona 2022
Teruzzi, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Isola Bianca 2022
Alessandro Tofanari, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Astrea 2021
Montenidoli, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Fiore 2021
Il Palagione, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Ori Riserva 2021
Cappellasantandrea, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Prima Luce Riserva 2020
Fattoria San Donato, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Benedetta Riserva 2020

Copyright © 2000/2023

Contatti: info@winenews.it
Seguici anche su Twitter: @WineNewsIt
Seguici anche su Facebook: @winenewsit

Questo articolo è tratto dall'archivio di WineNews - Tutti i diritti riservati - Copyright © 2000/2023

Altri articoli