Holidays in Tuscany are all about the stunning scenery, classic vistas, glorious sunsets and incredible food and wine, but when it comes to the vintages of this region, there is more to the drinks menu than Chianti Classico. In fact, Tuscany wine tours from Florence will offer you the opportunity to taste a whole range of local wines, including the often overlooked Vin Santo. |
What Is Vin Santo?
This delectable sweet dessert tipple synonymous with the area is enjoyed for its intense flavour, which combines notes of hazelnut, honey, apricot and caramel. As one half of the classic Tuscan nibble, the ‘Cantucci e Vin Santo’, this wine is often served as a welcome drink or after dinner alongside the traditional Italian biscuit.
When in the glass, the liquid, which can range in colour from auburn to pale gold, coats the sides but, despite its intense appearance, the flavour is delicate and fragrant. The sweetness of the drink means that you only need a small amount and usually a glass of 75ml is plenty to satisfy.
Where Does it Come From?
As you will discover on Tuscany wine tours from Florence this bottle is produced mainly in the Chainti region, although there are some worthy producers in the Veneto and in Trentino too. The name ‘Vin Santo’ translates as ‘Holy wine’ and there are lots of theories as to why it came to be known as this. The most logical explanation is that the timing of the fermentation of the grapes used falls around Easter.
What Grapes are Used?
Lots of regions in Italy make a version of this drink using their own grapes, but in Tuscany, Umbria and La Marche the typical grapes used are Trebbiano (adding the honey notes) and Malvasia (adding the perfumed notes).
How is it Made?
This wine is made in a way that differs somewhat to the classic method. The process is known as ‘passito’ and involves laying the grapes out on mats or alternatively hanging them up along the rafters in the winery and leaving them there to dry for several months. Over time, their sweetness intensifies and they become raisins, which are then pressed and barrelled in small casks known as ‘caratelli’. These casks, over many years, develop their own yeast that acts like a ‘mother’ in a sourdough and nurtures the whole process. It is in the casks that the dried fruit waits for the natural fermentation to start. As the months warm up and temperatures become more springlike, the fermentation is initiated, although, as the temperature changes, the rate of fermentations rises and falls. Makers of this vintage must be patient, as it can take up to four years for the process to be completed.
On Tuscany wine tours from Florence you will have the chance to learn that this process is one that cannot be easily controlled and therefore leads to a wide variety of results between producers. You could argue that this perhaps is what makes Vin Santo so endearing. Some are almost dry and come in at about 18-19% ABV, while others are more syrup-like in nature and have a lower alcohol percentage of around 14%.
Tuscany wine tours from Florence offer the ideal opportunity to taste the delicious Vin Santo, so make sure you book onto one when you are visiting the region. Book with a reputable tour operator and you can look forward to a professional and authentic experience.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Tuscany wine tours from Florence. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
Related Articles -
Tuscany, wine, tours, from, Florence,