“A barrel full of wine can establish more miracles than a church full of Saints”Italian saying
Vin Santo can be translated into: “Holy Wine”. This is a delicious dessert wine from Tuscany in Italy. It is an amber-colored dessert wine that originates from central Italy. Normally it is made from the white grape varieties Trebbiano and Malvasia that occur frequently in Toscane. Sometimes the red Sangiovese grape is also used for the Vin Santo.
After harvesting, the grapes are dried on straw mats in a well-ventilated attic of a barn. Between November and May, the grapes are pressed, depending on the sugar content that the vintner wants to have in his wine. The drier the grape, the more residual sugar. The wine is then aged in small oak barrels, where oxidation plays an important role. The kegs are sealed with a kind of cement or wax so that the ripening will go extra slow because there is almost no air. Often the small barrels are made of oak, beech or chestnut. This gives the amber tint. The barrels were traditionally stored in a place under the roof, the “vinsantaia”. Hence the name Vin Santo. Or maybe it got this name because in the past the kegs were only opened during the Easter festivities.
Vin Santo Styles
Vin Santo goes from very sweet to bone-dry in style. The dry version tastes remarkably like a dry fino sherry. You will find delicious aromas of flowers, dried fruit, honey, figs … blissful!!
The people of Tuscany also use this dessert wine to dip their hard almond biscuits, called Cantucci, to ensure that their teeth do not break off. But secretly I also think as an excuse to be able to drink a glass of this delicious wine during the day. Often you’ll get this Vin Santo offered in Tuscany as a welcoming gesture.