At a recent Zoom tasting at Il Gattopardo Restaurant, Dr. Wine, Daniele Cernilli, spoke about the wines of Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Carmignano.
Daniele Cernilli is the author of many books, including The Essential Guide to Italian Wine.
Speaking with Nunzio Castaldo of Panebianco wines and Silvio Solari before the tasting at IL Gattopardo
San Gimignano is a Tuscan hill town southwest of Florence and gives its name to this white wine. Records show the wine has been produced since 1286. With the DOC classification in 1966 it was one of the first to receive the DOC and later received the DOCG.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2020 Borgo “Alla Terra” Geografico made from 100% Vernaccia. Traditional white wine vinification and some aging in bottle before release. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, lemon, apple and pear with a note of almonds.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2020 Isola Bianca Teruzzi & Puthod made from 100% Vernaccia from different vineyards of the estate. Soils of Pilocene origin show the presence of clay. Grape skin maceration takes place in the press for one night, the day after the harvest. There is a cold settling of the must and alcoholic fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in stainless steel. This is a fruit driven wine with hints of citrus fruits, honey, and floral notes, with a touch of fresh almonds and good minerality and acidity. The wine is aged exclusively in stainless steel barrels for 4 to 5 months at a controlled temperature.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018 Campo della Pieve IL Colombaio di Santa Chiara made from 100% Vernaccia. The 1.5-hectare vineyard is at 360 to 400 meters and there are 5,500 vines per hectare. The soil is old Pilocene, which is sand and clay, and the training system is spurred cordon. Harvest by hand is the end of September and beginning of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts at a controlled temperature. Maturation is on the lees in cement vats with periodic batonnage for 18/20 months. This is a complex and aromatic wine with hints of ripe yellow stone fruit, citrus, white flowers and toasted almonds and a very nice finish. The winery is organic.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2017 Riserva Cesani made from 100% Vernaccia. The exposure is Southeast and the vineyard is at 250 to 300 meters. The soil is sandy limestone with marine deposits from the Pilocene period and the training system is spurred cordon. Harvest is the last week of September and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine remains for one year in stainless steel vats. The wine is bottled the August after the harvest. The wine remains in the bottle for one and one half years before release.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2015 Riserva Panizzi made from 100% Vernaccia from the Santa Margherita Vineyard. Harvest is the second half of September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and alcoholic fermentation is in barriques 50% and stainless steel 50% at a controlled temperature. They are aged in barriques and stainless steel for 4 to 5 months at a controlled temperature. They are blended together and then bottled. The wine has hints of vanilla, floral notes, grapefruit and pineapple undertones and a touch of almonds in the aftertaste.
Carmignano wines have a long history but in the 1960’s when the Italians started to regulate their wines it was absorbed into “Chianti” and sold as Chianti Montalbano. It was not until 1975 that it was given its own DOC, (retroactive to 1969) and Carmignano Wine became DOCG in 1990. The wine gets its name from the village of Carmignano, which is 12 miles from Florence.
Carmignano 2017 Poggilarca made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The soil is silt and sand with a good percentage of clay. Training system is guyot in the older vineyard and cordon spur in all others. The altitude is 130 meters. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. Maturation is for 18/20 days with frequent pumping over the skins. Half of the wine is aged in 30HL and 50HL Slavonian oak barrels and the rest in barriques for a minimum of 10 months and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of red berries, tobacco and spice with a vanilla sensation.
Carmignano Riserva 2017 Piaggia made from 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. The soil is medium textured with clay and galestro. The vineyards are at 250 meters, the training system is guyot and the exposure is southwest. There are 6,250 vines per hectare. There is a careful selection of grapes. Fermentation is carried out without selected yeasts. Skin contact is from 18 /25 to 28 days depending on the variety during which punching down and pumping over take place. Malolactic fermentation is in Franck oak barriques and the wine remains here for 18 months. The wine is racked a few times to make it ready to be bottled. Filtration or clarification does not take place. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. There are hints of ripe fruit, chocolate and sweet spice in the wine.
Carmignano 2016 Capezzana by Contini Bonaccossi Villa di Capezzana. Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The elevation is 180/220 meters and the soil is clay, limestone, schist and marl. The age of the wines is 20/40 years and the training system is guyot cordon spur. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and they use organic farming practices. Fermentation is with native indigenous yeast. There is a 13 day extended maceration period. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French tonneaux. Aging: 60% in 2nd and 3rd or 4th passage French oak tonneaux, 10% in new French oak tonneaux and 30% in 5/30 year old untoasted Allier or Slavonian 24 HL barrels for 12 months. The wine is aged for another 12 months in bottle before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of red berries, violets with a note of blueberries and a touch of licorice. I have a long history with this estate going back 40 years. This is a wine that can age. In 1985 I had the 1925 which at the time was labeled Chianti Montalbano.