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Food & Wine

Vin Santo del Chianti, dessert wine to taste in Tuscany

Home > News > Vin Santo del Chianti, dessert wine to taste in Tuscany
Postata il: 29 March 2018

The tie of Tuscany with fine wines is well-known to every tourist: we have repeatedly recommended wines produced in the province of Siena such as Vernaccia or Nobile di Montepulciano, the jewels of a region with unique charm.
Vin Santo is one of the typical products to discover during a holiday in Siena, so we decided to tell you about its origins and characteristics of that wine that comes from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes, and has been called, with good reason, “magic”.

Credits: By Popo le Chien [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

The origins of this wine are legendary, and the traditional production process is very delicate, because the grapes are laid out on straw mats, often under rafters or staircases, they are kept in warm, well ventilated rooms that allow the moisture in the grape to evaporate. This process of desiccation allows the sugars in the grape to be more concentrated. After fermentation the grapes are then aged in small oak barrels, and the aging process can last 10 years!

With regard to the name there are several theories that explain the meaning of the word Vin Santo: according to the legend, in 1439 the bishop of Nicaea, patriarch John Bessarion, during the Ecumenical Council of Florence have tasted the sweet Tuscan wine and exclaimed “Xanthos”, probably referring to the sweet wine of Xanthos, in Greece. The locals thought that the cardinal meant “holy” and so was born the name of this wine.

The most plausible theory reminds to the tradition of starting fermentation around All Saint’s Day and bottling this wine during Easter week.

What food to pair with Vin Santo?


Traditionally the Vin Santo is a dessert wine and is paired with cantucci biscuits; these cookies were very hard, so we used to soak them in Vin Santo.
Today you can delight yourself even before eating the cookies and then sipping wine, accentuating the sweet taste.
The varieties that you can try in the province of Siena are Vin Santo del Chianti Classico or the Occhio di Pernice, produced with Sangiovese grapes.

However it isn’t essential to taste the Vin Santo only after a meal; according to the expert culinary journalist Luigi Veronelli, Vin Santo it is a meditation wine, a wine that doesn’t need pairings and should be appreciated for its individual characteristics.

Whatever your preference, taste Vin Santo in Siena, you will discover a world of flavor and fragrance that recalls the soft hills and relaxing landscapes of this part of Tuscany.

Check this post to discover the Guided wine tastings in Siena.

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