| Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Famed as the first wine in Italy to be granted D.O.C status, Vernaccia di San Gimignano was once hailed as Italy's finest white wine. If its only competition were still countless dull whites made from Trebbiano then this would probably still hold true - fortunately there are now good Chardonnays, Sauvignons and Pinot Blancs in the ring with it.
Vernaccia (this is also the name of the grape) is usually a well made, crisp and dry white with delicate fruit. Not a great wine, but a reliable and enjoyable one.
This is a small D.O.C zone to the east of Florence that is notable for its traditional use of French grapes in its wines (much like Montecarlo near Lucca). The white (Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Trebbiano) was one of the early adopters of barrique aging (maturing the wine in small barrels of new oak) which subsequently became fashionable for many of Tuscanys more expensive white wines.
I have tasted Vin Santo that could walk tall in the company of Sauternes;
it likely spent upwards of seven years maturing in wood and was some
ten times more expensive than the average supermarket bottle. Vin Santo
can be a rich and luscious dessert wine (though there are ‘dry' versions),
delicious with traditional almond biscuits, but there are mass produced
examples that are pretty awful.
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