San Gimignano is niet zomaar een middeleeuws stadje in de provincie Siena. Zijn bijnaam, het Manhattan van Toscane, dankt hij niet zozeer aan de hoog opgestapelde hoeveelheden toeristen, maar aan de torens die de markante skyline vormen. Ooit waren het er tientallen, nu resteren er nog 13 torens uit de 12de en 13e eeuw, nog altijd een bezoek meer dan waard.San Gimignano is not just another medieval town in the province of Siena. It’s nickname, Manhattan of Tuscany, is not related to the piled up tourists that visit it every year, but to the towers that form the distinctive skyline. Once there were dozens, now there are 13 towers from the 12th and 13th centuries, still worth visiting.
But San Gimignano has even more to offer. Not only the best ice cream in the world by Sergio Dondoli, see http://www.fred-nijhuis.nl/2012/08/ijs/?lang=en , but also wine!
About that wine, some misunderstandings do exist. A few years ago I gave my first lesson at the Wine Academy. The students looked a bit surprised when I announced that we would taste a Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Apparently, that same morning, they were taught that the Vernaccia is a mediocre grape for bad wines. The teacher was very happy with the fact they were only drunk in and around San Gimignano, usually by stupid tourists, not worth a decent wine…..
For my class, I selected the Carato of Montenidoli and it showed how wrong my colleague was. Students were surprised in a pleasant and unpleasant way. It was pleasant to taste such a great wine, it was unpleasant to realize that a professional teacher could be so wrong.
The last few years I attended the presentation of the new harvest of Vernaccia in San Gimignano. An interesting event, often with great additional tastings with wines from other countries and regions, such as Burgundy and Calce in Roussillon.
Although the criticism of Vernaccia di San Gimignano is not unknown, it’s negative image is obsolete, incomplete and often totally unjustified. As in almost all other wine regions in the world, San Gimignano has traditional, progressive, commercial, excellent, ‘normal’, ‘less interesting’ and even remarkably bad presenting wineries. But, San Gimignano has a fantastic terroir and the potential to produce some of the best white wines in Italy.
The characteristics of the region and how winemakers deal with it, is nicely described in a ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano’ a new book that I was received some time ago. It is written in cooperation with several authorities such as Professor Attilio Scienza (University of Milan), Zeffiro Ciuffoletti (Professor at the University of Florence) and wine writers Carlo Macchi and Leonardo Romanelli.
The book shows the history of San Gimignano, its wines, the specific characteristics of the soil, climate and thier grape: the Vernaccia. Obviously the most important wineries are portraited and their owners give their own vision of this unique wine. We see the historical and contemporary contributions of Guicciardini Strozzi, the scientific, almost clinical approach of Teruzzi & Puthod, the modern style of Panizzi, a promising new generation of winemakers such as Giorgio Comotti of Il Palagione and of course the undisputed queen of San Gimignano, Maria Elisabetta Fagiuoli and her Montenidoli.
Even without explicit reviews of the wines, the book interesting and complete. Very pleasant are certain recipes, some technical information and of course the text in both Italian and English ….
Next month I will try the new vintages of Vernaccia in San Gimignano and share my experiences with you on my website. In the meantime you can prepare for my reviews by reading ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano’…
Publisher: Carlo Cambi Editore
Price: € 16,00
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