Only recently I had the chance to try a 1997 Fattoria Villa Spoiano Vin Santo from Tuscany, Italy. Today I want to share my tasting notes with you. The answers for the wine quiz are postponed to tomorrow.
What is Vin Santo?
Vin Santo is a sweet wine that originated in the Chianti area of Tuscany. Most of the time it is produced from white Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. However, wineries may add Sangiovese to produce a pink Vin Santo known as Occhio di Pernice. Depending on the DOC-appellation, Vin Santo ages between 3 and 10 years in small chestnut barrels and/or oak barrels. The wood used for Vin Santo varies and sometimes cherry wood and juniper are used, too. It is common to age Vin Santo in different woods and to blend it together only prior to bottling. This makes the wine more complex and gives the wine more flavor and aromas. After harvest the grapes get sun-dried on straw mats until they almost turn into raisins.
The name Vin Santo, the ‘holy wine’, is of uncertain origin but it is most likely that the wine was used during the mass. Starting from the 14th century, merchants from Florence started encouraging Tuscan wineries to produce lots of sweet wine which then was exported to Rome where it was for the holy mass. At some point the Florentines started to call this sweet wine Vin Santo. A few centuries later, Vin Santo was heavily exported to Russia because the Russian Orthodox Church was looking for a sweet wine that they could use for their mass.
Because the demand for Vin Santo has increased a lot over the centuries, more and more wineries started to produce Vin Santo. However, some of them are not so successful and as a result the Vin Santo that they produce is often turned into vinegar that is similar to balsamic vinegar from Modena.
A good Vin Santo can be aged for more than 15 years.
Fattoria Villa Spoiano
Between the hills of Siena and those of Florence lies the agritourism Fattoria Villa Spoiano. Just outside the village Tavarnelle, in the heart of Tuscany Villa Spoiano produces olive oil, vinegar and of course wine. Three white, one sparkling, one pink and seven red wines as well as Vin Santo del Chianti. The agritourism has a restaurant that serves typical Tuscan cuisine and offers accommodations for those who wish to explore the beauty of Tuscany.
Here are some pictures that show the breathtaking scenery of the Florentine hills and of Tavarnelle.
Tasting Notes 1997 Fattoria Villa Spoiano Vin Santo del Chianti DOC
The Vin Santo from Fattoria Villa Spoiano is produced with Trebbiano and Malvasia and the wine aged for at least four years in different types of wood. The wine is classified as Vin Santo del Chianti DOC. Interesting to know: The appellation Vin Santo del Chianti DOC was established in August 1997. Before that, Vin Santo del Chianti was labeled IGT Toscano
In the glass, the Vin Santo had an amber-golden color. On the nose, intense aromas of candid apricot and candid orange as well as hints of smoke and honey. In the mouth, I tasted honey, raisins and candid fruit. The Vin Santo was sweet, a little bit crisp and complex. Lingering finish.
This Vin Santo from Fattoria Villa Spoiano is worth trying – however I tasted better ones. The wine was definitely over its peek and I am looking forward to try a younger vintage of this Vin Santo.
What is your opinion on Vin Santo? Have you tried it before and did you like it?