Thursday, July 31, 2014

The 1st DOC wine of Italy and some summer pairings

San Gimignano, Tuscany
San Gimignano, Tuscany
One of the star white grapes of Tuscany is called Vernaccia and you will find it around the town of San Gimignano located southwest of Siena. San Gimignano is a medieval hilltop town surrounded in the present day by 13 towers. Back in the 14th century there were 72 towers in total that were developed by the upper class families to demonstrate their status in society. San Gimignano is a great place to base yourself for traveling throughout Tuscany. You have the Chianti region at your finger tips, along with Pisa and Lucca to the north and the distinguished wines towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano for their Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to the south.

2012 Torciano Poggio Aicieli Vernaccia di San GimignanoThroughout all the grapes of Italy, Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first to be granted DOC status in 1966 and later was granted DOCG status in 1993. About 5 months back I wrote a blog on the 2012 Crete Rosse Chianti D.O.C.G. that the Tenuta Torciano winery from San Gimignano had shared with me. Today I'm sharing with you their 2012 Poggio Aicieli Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I looked forward to this sample as I am a fan of Vernaccia. I thought this wine was a great expression of the vernaccia grape. This is a grape that you will be able to locate in many wine shops as it's not as discreet as some of the other grapes at times that I share with you. Tenuta Torciano also has some great wine clubs that you can enjoy as well that shares with you 24 of their wines throughout the year including future discounts. The Poggio Aicieli, meaning “hills to the skies”, had a slight tropical bouquet with an almost clear color to it in the glass with a hint of straw coloring. Being a lighter, refreshing wine it was dry with mouthwatering acidity, nice minerality, some citrus and I picked up lots of sea saltiness on the finish.

Spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts & goat cheeseRoasted chicken with potatoes and black olivesFrances Mayes pasta with pear, ricotta, walnuts

I paired this wine with a couple dishes over a couple days, both very different. One was a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and black olives along with a spinach salad topped with goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts and a homemade vinaigrette. I enjoyed at least half the glass by itself before eating as it was the end of a nice summer day and no better way to unwind than with a glass of wine. It paired nicely with the chicken. My next meal was from Frances Mayes new cookbook “The Tuscan Sun Cookbook”. It was stuffed pasta, I used shells, with ricotta and pears covered with a gorgonzola cream sauce and topped with toasted walnuts. Delicious! It was nice how the creamy sauce smoothed out the acidity of the wine and the fruit of the wine was more present. Two different meals that both paired nicely in their own way showcasing the wine slightly different. The fun of wine and food pairing.

Pierluigi Giachi and his family are backed by 14 generations of winemaking. They have an estate that offers a wide variety of activities and a food and wine experience to satisfy your desires. Check them out and seek out a Vernaccia this summer!