Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Underrated Wine of the Week - Vin Santo

I realize that my last 'Underrated Wine of the Week' was something like three months ago, but perhaps I was getting a bit ahead of myself. It's still a catchier name than "Underrated Wine of the Quarter".

Anyway, this time around I wanted to talk about Vin Santo, a type of dessert wine from Tuscany. Vin Santo is one of those discoveries about wine that you love because it's completely different than anything else. The name, literally translated, means Saint Wine. To make it, wineries pick Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes (both common in Tuscany) and hang them from rafters until they are dried out. They are then pressed and the now-concentrated juice is poured into little cigar-shaped barrels. They are fermented with an open top, then sealed and stored under the roof of the winery for as long as a decade.

Over time they take on an amber color from the barrels. Because they have been exposed to the air they are oxidized and therefore taste quite a lot like Port Wine. In fact, if you are a Port Wine lover you really must try Vin Santo. It has the same nutty/dried fruit flavors. Unlike Port, though, it is not fortified with Brandy so the alcohol content is a bit lower. In Tuscany I'm told people often have it with biscotti. I think it makes a great after dinner drink. If you're interested in trying it we have one called Castello di Poppiano which sells for about $25.

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