The history of Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a rich, storied and vibrant as the medieval hill town itself. The earliest recorded mention of Vernaccia in the archives at the Consorzio date to the year 1276. However, given its relative difficulty with cultivation, the variety fell out of favor as plantings of the easier cultivars, Trebbiano and Malvasia became widespread. As knowledge and yes, passion, improved, Vernaccia experienced a resurgence during the 1960’s owing in large part to the bland wines that Trebbiano and Malvasia produced. Today, Vernaccia is one of Italy’s most respected and well known whites. It was the first wine in all of Italy to be awarded DOC status in 1966 and as of 1993, became DOCG.
In 1959, the Troiani’s purchased property in San Gimignano for what was ultimately to become the Fontaleoni Estate. Today, the property is run by the brother and sister team of Matteo and Simona, the third generation of Troiani’s to helm the estate. Together they farm a total of 30 hectares, about half of which is dedicated to Vernaccia. The sibling pair are devoted to Vernaccia and the family legacy and are striving to improve the estate’s wines across the board. Today, the estate is undergoing conversion to certified organic viticulture and in 2001, they completed a modern, gravity fed wine cellar that lies partially underground. Production of all wines totals about 150,000 bottles per year.
The 2016 Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a pleasing, easy wine of its type to drink. Medium to pale straw in color, the wine was rather aromatic immediately upon opening. Newly mown grass, lemon peel, and soft white peach notes mark the aromas which are very attractive. On the palate, the wine is crisp, clean and refreshing. Medium bodied, the dominant flavor is that of citrus fruits marked by an underlying dusty note of wet stones. Well balanced, the acidity leaves your palate clean and awaiting another taste. Perhaps not built to allow for increased complexity as it ages, so enjoy the current vintage this season. Enjoyable on its own as an apperitivo either al fresco or while one prepares dinner, we also paired it successfully with tomato bruschetta. Nicely done and widely available. 87 points. About $12. Find this wine.
Stay tuned for some additional Vernaccia reviews as Spring arrives in earnest. (maybe) We’ve got you covered!