Pale gold in the glass, this wine has a fresh, bright nose of lime zest, creamy Meyer lemon and a pleasing herbal quality that evokes dried bay leaf and other aromatic herbs. In the mouth it is lively and juicy, with cantaloupe, nectarine and apple fruit characteristics wrapped around a nice mineral backbone. There are some herbal qualities in the finish as well, with a note of fennel seed and olive that keeps the wine from being austere or too linear. This wine has a gorgeous texture and is wonderfully refreshing.
Lime zest, Meyer lemon, orange rind, fennel, basil and green olive juice.
San Gimignano is an extremely popular Tuscan tourist destination known mainly for its soaring medieval brick towers that look out on the spectacular countryside. It's also home to the white grape variety known as Vernaccia, which records suggest may well be Italy's oldest white grape variety, loved by peasants and royalty alike for at least 750 years! Vincenzo Cesani's father first planted the vineyards in1964, and today Vincezo and his daughter run the farm, leaving the winemaking to famous enologist Paolo Caciorgna. Under Caciorgna's care, the winery has become relatively famous for its Sangiovese wine called Luenzo, which has garnered the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri award, among other accolades. Despite the fame and money associated with big Tuscan reds, Cesani remains dedicated to the humble, local Vernaccia.
This versatile wine is perfect on its own or with a light lunch on a hot afternoon. The lovely fruit and mineral qualities of this wine also make it a sure bet for pairing with grilled seafood of all kinds. I'd love to drink it with a plate of grilled anchovies and some fresh country olives and bread, but since it's March, I've paired it with a simple recipe for Tagliatelle with Pesto.
The rich history of Vernaccia in Italy no doubt contributed to the honor of Vernaccia di San Gimignano being the first grape variety in Italy to gain DOC status after the system was established in 1963.
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