Montenidoli, "Tradizionale" Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2018 (about $22)

Italian Wine for august, 2021

Vernaccia wines from the San Gimignano appellation are Tuscany's most famous white wine and is the only Tuscan white wine to qualify for vaunted DOCG status - which it received in 1993.

But the wine was well known and appreciated long before this official recognition. There are references to this wine dating back to the 13th century and the wine was praised and much sought-after by Renaissance notables such as Dante Alighieri and Boccaccio, among others. It often graced the Medici family’s dining tables at feasts and other special occasions.

By regulation, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG wines are produced from Vernaccia grapes grown in the hilly vineyards around the tourist-centric town of Gimignano in the province of Siena. It was here that Elisabetta Fagiuoli and her late husband, Sergio Muratori, purchased the virtually-abandoned Montenidoli property in 1965 and set about clearing the land and planting grape vines. Today they produce a small number of red, white and rosé wines based on local, traditional varieties such as Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Vernaccia.

The Montenidoli winery, including vineyards and winemaking protocols, is certified organic. Even the fermentation process is carried out with natural as opposed to commercial yeasts.

The Montenidoli estate produces three separate Vernaccia wines that are distinguished not by the source of the grapes (they come from the same vineyards) but how the grapes are fermented. For example, the “Tradizionale” Vernaccia follows the local traditional custom (hence the name “Tradizionale”) of macerating the grapes in their juice for an extended period (up to a week) before fermentation on the grape skins. Extended skin contact like this enhances the color and structure of wines and also produces wines with strong phenolic and oxidative properties.

Montenidoli’s “Tradizionale” is aged for a short period in glass-lined concrete vats and spends a few additional months in the bottle prior to release. The wine is made entirely of locally-grown Vernaccia and has food-friendly 13.5 percent alcohol.

The 2018 “Tradizionale” is an attention-grabbing white wine. The first thing that gets your attention is its color – a bright straw-yellow with golde2018 "Tradizionale" Vernaccia di San Gimignano from the Montenidoli winery in Tuscany.n highlights. Then the mouthfeel and texture of the wine kicks in – full-bodied, dense, tightly-knit and richly-textured with ripe white stone-fruit flavors and subtle dried herb notes, all balanced with resolute acidity. A late burst of white fruit gives lift to the long, intense and bright finish.

The wine successfully combines elegance and structure for a really pleasurable drinking experience and ranks high on a quality-to-price basis. This wine is drinkable upon release but, unlike some other white wines, is capable of extended ageing in the bottle.

While I don’t feel it necessary to appeal to a higher authority, it is worth noting that the 2018 “Tradizionale” Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Montenidoli, as in previous years, is the recipient of Gambero Rosso’s prized Tre Bicchieri award that warrants it as one of Italy’s best wines.


©Richard Marcis
August 5, 2021

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