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Vernaccia Di San Gimignano, Tasted 2009

What Impressed me the Most

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Vernaccia di San Gimignano's origins are shrouded in the mists of time: Some even suggest that the grapes used to make it were brought by the Etruscans. In any case, over the centuries the vines adapted superbly to the soil, and by the Renaissance Vernaccia was considered Italy's finest white wine, fit to fire the imaginations of poets, artists and Popes. Because of its historical renown, it was the first Italian wine to be awarded DOC status, in 1966.

Montenidoli Carato Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2005

Brassy yellow with brassy golden reflections and pale yellow rim. Clearly not a 2008, but not as dark as some of the other older wines. Delicate bouquet with deft bitter almond supported by some butterscotch and pleasant underlying minerality, while alcohol also provides a nice counterpoint. Quite a bit to say. On the palate it's ample, and rich, with powerful lemony fruit laced with minerality and supported by clean deft butterscotch and some cedary bitterness, which flow into a clean bright bitter almond mineral finish that lasts and lasts. Very nice, with a beautiful interplay of acidity and minerality, and will work very well as an aperitif or with elegant fish or white meats.
Score: 91-2

Azienda Agricola F.lli Vagnoni Fontabuccio Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2007

Clear bottle. The wine is pale brassy yellow with brassy reflections and white rim. Bright brambly bouquet, with considerable heather and bitterness mingled with minerality that brings to mind a hammer against granite. Pleasant and nicely defined. On the palate it's bright, with rich minerality supported by some bitterness and mineral acidity that flow into a long clean savory mineral finish. Quick to write, but quite pleasant to drink, and will work very well with all sorts of foods, from pasta and risotti though white meats from land or sea. In short versatile, and you may want a second bottle.
Score: 90

Podere la Castellaccia Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2007

Pale brassy white with bright brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is bright, with greenish accents and hints of scalded milk mingled with almond and the heather of a Tuscan field, and also underlying mineral acidity. Nice balance and quite welcoming. On the palate it's rich, with lively lemony fruit supported by brisk lemon-citron acidity and by some savory accents, which flow into a long citron finish. Quite pleasant, and will work well with succulent grilled or roasted fish, and also be a good bet with fried meats and vegetables in the summer months. A little too brightly acidic for creamy dishes, I think, but in the proper setting it will be perfect.
Score: 90

Casale Falchini Spumante Metodo Classico IGT Bianco Toscana 2005

Brassy gold with intense fine perlage. The bouquet is elegant, with intriguing greenish accents mingled with savory notes and sea salt, and tart apple acidity, with some bitter almond as well. Nice balance and pleasant to sniff; with further sniffing hints of lees also emerge. On the palate it's ample, with fullness coming from both wine and sparkle; the fruit is quite dry with some hints of apple, but more almond and bitterness, while the sparkle provides pepper and fullness, and it flows into a distinctly savory mineral finish. Pleasant, and will work quite well as an aperitif or with foods; it's versatile and has quite a bit to say. One of those wines one hates to pour out at a tasting.
Score: 88-90

Azienda Agricola il Lebbio Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008

Brassy gold with brassy reflections and pale yellow rim. Swishing brings up greenish notes mingled with green apricot acidity and bitter almond and peach pit nutmeats. Still quite young. On the palate it's bright, with rich slightly brambly lemony citron fruit supported by bitter tannins that have a certain peach pit to them, and by hints of bramble and balsam that work into a warm rather bitter citron-laced finish. Pleasant, and will complement the foods it's served with; it will work well with flavorful fish, and also with rich white meats, in particular fried foods. It will contribute mightily to either chicken (or rabbit) or fish, and I'd even be tempted o serve it with fried lamb chops.
Score: 88-90

Luigi Cecchi e Figli Castello Montauto Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008

Clear bottle. The wine is pale brassy white with brassy reflections and very pale greenish highlights. The bouquet is moderately intense, with greenish bitter almonds mingled with heather and some minerality; with swishing a certain pungency also emerges. On the palate it's not as tight as I expected, with rather languid savory lemon fruit supported by citric acidity that flows into a clean bitter savory citric finish that does tighten up nicely. Pleasant, and versatile; it will drink well with all sorts of things, from creamy pasta dishes through grilled fish or white meats, and will also work well with fried meats and vegetables.
Score: 88-90

Palagetto Tenute Niccolai Santa Chiara Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008

Pale brassy yellow with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is bright, with greenish accents and peach pit bitterness mingled with heather and some citron acidity. Nice balance in a fairly rich key. On the palate it's bright, with rich bitter citric fruit supported by greenish acidity and underlying sea salt that carry into a bracingly fresh lemony sea salt finish. Quite nice, in a decidedly zesty key, and will drink well with simple grilled white meats, flavorful grilled fish, and also with creamy dishes or fried fish and vegetables. It grew upon me.
Score: 88-90

Montenidoli Fiore Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2007

Pale brassy yellow with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is intense, and quite young, with greenish accents and bitter almond laced with some minerality; it gives an impression of being in mid-stride. On the palate it's ample and quite fresh, with fairly rich lemony loquat fruit supported by moderate mineral citric acidity, and by ample rather smoky bitterness with an raspy tannic underpinning that flows into a long brooding bitter tart finish. It's still up in the air, and needs another year at least for the pieces to settle into place. When they do it will be impressive; today it's like trying to judge a toddler -- this is a problem one encounters more often with reds than whites, but has happened here.
Score: 88

Cappella di Sant'Andrea Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008

Pale brassy yellow with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up greenish accents and bitter almond nutmeats mingled with heather and citron acidity. On the palate it's fairly rich, with bitter citron fruit supported by minerality and some bitterness with savory accents that flows into a clean savory citron finish with underlying gunflint minerality that's fairly long. A good, rather powerful food wine that will work well with flavorful dishes, ranging from grilled salmon through fried meats and vegetables, and will also age nicely for 3-5 years.
Score: 88

Azienda Agricola Signano Poggiarelli Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008

Pale brassy yellow with apricot laced reflections and pale rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with lemony accents mingled with greenish heather and hints of scalded milk, with underlying bitterness that's more peach pit than gunflint at present. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich lemony fruit supported by peppery bitterness and by clean lemony acidity that flows into a fairly long slightly bitter lemony finish with greenish overtones. It's pleasant, in a charged key, and will drink nicely now with succulent grilled or roasted fish or white meats, and will also work well with fried meats or fish, though it you have the patience to give it 3-5 years, I think it could do interesting things.
Score: 88

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