Vin Santo del Chianti

Casanova di Pescille selects Vin Santo in San Gimignano

Our natural tuscan products:
Vin Santo

Vin Santo del Chianti, an amber coloured wine

Casanova di Pescilles selects Vin Santo, an amber coloured wine, which for its particular and typical organoleptic characteristics which are in nay case different from that of white wines, makes it ideal when served with desserts or dry pastries, although it can be served as an aperitif. However, according to Tuscan tradition Vin Santo goes with almond biscuits made in Prato, and you will find this dish in our "Zafferano" restaurant.

The origins of Vin Santo probably dates back to 1349, the year in which a dessert wine was served at a Christian Council meeting held in Florence between Orthodox and Catholic bishops (at the time it was called "priest wine") which was much appreciated by the participants. However, some believe that the name derives from its similarity with the wine of Xantos Island in Greece. Legend has it that is was called Vi Santo (holy wine) because during holy mass when it came to the Eucharist (the body and blood of Jesus) the Tuscan priests drank Vin Santo, which they still do in the present day.

How is made

In Tuscany the production of Vin Santo is a real art that requires time and patience. The first step is gathering the grapes among the many produced in Tuscany. Among the best are Tuscan Trebbiano, Chianti Malvasia, white Canaiolo, white or gray Pinot, Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It is also important to identify the best bunches of grapes that must have sparse berries and thick skin so that they will wither without rotting. The soil and exposure also play an important role in the final quality of Vin Santo; in fact, the ground it must be dry, well ventilated and well exposed to the sun.

After the harvest the drying of grapes takes place, which is a task that, in addition to requiring large spaces where the grapes can be laid out, is essential for the production of a quality Vin Santo. The dry grapes reach an extremely mature state by losing water from the berries and increasing the percentage of sugar that will affect the final alcohol content.

According to tradition, in Tuscany the grapes are dried in special drying-out areas – spacious premises that are well ventilated and with temperatures between 10 to 15 degrees °C-placing them on reed mats or wooden boxes, so as to permit the passage of air and therefore a loss of moisture. Another method to dry the grapes for Vin Santo consists in leaving the grapes hanging from the ceiling on special iron frames. In both cases, the drying period lasts from 20 days to 3 months.

When the drying process has been completed, when the percentage of sugar in the grapes has reached an optimum level (30-40% for sweet Vin Santo and 25-28% for dry Vin Santo), the next step is pressing, preserving the dregs and grape juice for 3 or 4 days at a temperature of 22/22 degrees Celsius.

The fermentation, refining and possibly the aging for a minimum period of three years, is carried out in characteristic barrels (small casks) made of oak or chestnut, which are 80-85% filled and hermetically sealed.