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Vin Santo, A Truly Great Dessert Wine from Tuscany

Grapes  for Vin Santo Drying in the Vinsantaia

One of the most characteristic wines of Toscana is Vin Santo. This passito is an ancient and traditional specialty produced throughout the entire region. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, but the prototype for this style of wine can be traced back to the Greeks and the Romans.

Most Vin Santo is made from white grapes, typically Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. It can be made from just one of these grapes but is more commonly a blend of the two. Trebbiano provides acidity while Malvasia provides body, texture and perfume. A rare, pink Vin Santo called Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice (“partridge eye”) is made from red grapes, usually Sangiovese. Only a few producers make this pink version.

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PODCAST: Jane Hunt, MW & Andrew Jefford on Tuscany

Master of Wine Jane Hunt is interviewed by Decanter Magazine’s Andrew Jefford about Tuscany and its wines. Jane has a long, distinguished career in various aspects of the wine trade, and will be leading a Wine Scholar Guild immersion tour through some of the legendary Tuscan wine estates.

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Harmonious Balance in Sangiovese: Ruminations on a Tuscan Taste

Matt Kirkland was an attendee of the WSG’s first Study Trip to Tuscany with Jane Hunt, MW. Here, he shares some of the insights he gleaned from the trip.

Quality in wine can be assessed based upon balance, length, intensity, and complexity (and typicity when not tasting blindly). As the workhorse grape of central Italy, Sangiovese had a checkered history relative to quality. It is a high acid grape, with relatively high tannins; and quality demands a balance of these structural components. The goal of this essay will be to discuss the acid/tannin balance, its impact upon quality, and the implications for “mouthfeel” of the resultant wines. The harmonious balance of quality can be achieved with pure Sangiovese (Brunello de Montalcino or some Chianti’s, or with blends as in Chianti or the “Super Tuscans”); the key is taming the interplay of tannin and acid on the palate. The journey through Tuscany is a delectable discovery of vinous diversity, unified by the grape.

“In the bad old days, Sangiovese tended to be overproduced which accentuated its tendency to exhibit high acid and unripe tannins… Sangiovese’s dominant viticultural characteristics are that it can vary as much as Pinot Noir in its sensitivity to place and that it ripens relatively late.” Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/grape-varieties/red/sangiovese

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Classic Cuisines of Central Italy with Barbara Philip MW

Abstract:

Join Barbara Philip MW in another wine lover’s tour of Italian cuisine.  This time the virtual voyage will take us through Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and Abruzzo as we discover the classic regional ingredients and dishes. We will also have a chance to look at the famous wines that go with the food and why.

Presenter: Barbara Philips, Master of Wine

Barbara Philip MW became the first Canadian woman to achieve the Master of Wine designation in 2007.  Based in Vancouver, she is a Category Manager for BC Liquor Stores where she is responsible for European wines. 

With her husband Iain, Barb runs Barbariain Wine Consulting and works as a presenter, judge and radio columnist on CBC Radio One’s “On The Coast”.

Learn more about Italian Wines:

 

 

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