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On the Road with the Grape Guy

Report from : Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2020

31 Mar 2020

(February 19, 2020) ... SAN GIMIGNANO – This year’s Anteprima schedule started with Chianti (in Florence) and moved along though San Gimignano – I seem to be putting these reports up haphazardly this year – the Brunello reports are all up (Rosso, Brunello, Selezione) while Chianti and Vino Nobile remain on my desk waiting – they’ll pop up in the next few weeks, after a quick look at San Gimignanon and Vernaccia.

Vernaccia is the white grape of Tuscany and the first to receive DOCG status – years ago I wondered why anyone would care about this grape, because the wines were so terrible – now I lament that we don’t get any into Ontario (or very few) – to make up for that, I end up bringing a bottle back just to enjoy over the summer.

Winemakers here are starting to understand that freshness, acidity and fruitiness wins out over oak and makes this grape not only unique but a wonderful summer wine that brings pleasure to the consumer. Yes, they still insist on oak in the Riservas, but there seems to be a pull-back here that allows for fruit (not oak) to shine trough. Plus, there is a push towards single vineyard offerings to showcase terroir (many of these end up in my report scorecard below).Vernaccia in a glass

The good news for these wines is that over my years of attending the Anteprima I have noticed more and more producers step away from the old ways and take a more modern approach to their winemaking – those willing to take a chance are being rewarded, those stuck in the past are pulling those willing to change down (but thankfully it seems to be fewer and fewer every year).

The best versions of these wines have freshness in the form of minerality and acidity backed by citrus fruit and / or stone fruit. The best Riservas keep that lively freshness while also adding weight and texture to the delicate wine without over-powering or over-oxygenating (oxidized) the wine. Single vineyard (or selection), wines that have a name in quotation marks – are slowly beginning to gain wide acclaim because they show another dimension to the winemaking.

As previously stated we don’t see a lot of Vernaccia wines in Ontario, I can’t speak for the rest of Canada, but the wines made around San Gimignano are a rarity on LCBO shelves, so instead of providing full tasting notes ; I’ll use my Good / Better / Best approach below; but also because, once again this year’s paperwork did not specify whether the wines tried were finished or a tank / barrel sample – it is because of this I am also leery to give an official score to these wines … therefore I am treating every wine as a “sample” … And with that said, I give my usual disclaimer for an Anteprima tasting:  I do not score unfinished wines, too much can go wrong between tank / barrel and bottle that can compromise or otherwise change the wine that I have I tried as a “sample”. So, I will be rating all of them using my good / better / best system for potential … read on to find out which wines made make the list:

Vernaccia 2020 wallAfter tasting 81 wines these were the best of those offerings:


Good Potential

Cantine Guidi 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Cappellasantandrea 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Rialto”
Casa alle Vacche 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Casa Lucii 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Casa Lucii”
Casa Lucii 2015 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Mareterra”
Collemucioli 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Madre Terra”
Fattoria Poggio Alloro 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Il Nicchialo”
Fontaleoni 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Guicciardini Strozzi 2017 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Il Colombaio di SantaChiara 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Campo della Pieve”
Il Palagione 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Ori”
La Lastra 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Macinatico–Massi 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva “Massi”
Pietrafitta 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Borghetto”
Podere le Volute Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Podere Arcangelo 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
San Donato 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Angelica”
Signano 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Poggiarelli”


Better Potential

Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Borgo alla Terra”Vernaccia 2020
Casa alle Vacche 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano”I Macchioni”
Casale Falchini 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Vigne a Solatio”
Casale Falchini 2017 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Ab Vinea Doni”
Fattoria Poggio Alloro 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Guicciardini Strozzi 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Titolato”
Il Palagione 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Hydra”
Macinatico – Massi 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Podere del Paradiso 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Tenuta La Vigna 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Tenuta La Vigna 2018 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Tenuta Le Calcinaie 2017 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva “Vigna ai Sassi”
Teruzzi 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Isola Bianca”


Best Potential

Tenuta Le Calcinaie 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano

 

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