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Origin: San Gimignano, Tuscany
Grape: 100% Vernaccia
Elisabetta and Sergio Fagiuoli came to Montenidoli in 1965, enticed there by the beauty of the
13th century paintings here. Elisabetta had the land in her blood, from being brought up in a family that cultivated
vines and olive trees in Custoza since the 1700’s, and after spending her youth wandering the vineyards of
Valpolicella. When they arrived at the vineyards, it was in total disrepair, serious work was needed. The vines were
overgrown with brambles. They began by breaking up the earth to create hummus. They also raised earthworms
and bred rabbits for their manure.
Vernaccia is a white wine grape that is found in many Italian wines but is most commonly associated the Tuscan wine Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The Tuscan variety of Vernaccia appears to be an ancient variety but ampelographers disagree as to whether the grape's origins are Eastern European, Greek or Roman. In the Middle Ages, a Vernaccia wine known as Vernage was popular in London. The white wine grape of Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the most well known variety of Vernaccia and produces crisp wine with good acidity and citrus fruit. It is sometimes blended with Trebbiano but is also seen as a varietal wine.
San Gimignano, a small walled village about halfway between Florence and Siena, is famous for its fascinating medieval architecture and towers that rise above of all the other buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley. At the height of its glory, San Gimignano's patrician families had built around 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano still retains its feudal atmosphere and appearance. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano offers visitors the chance to step back in time while enjoying its local products including saffron and its white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Montenidoli‘s vineyards are organically grown. For fifty years no herbicide, insecticides or any other
chemicals have been used. This is a microclimate brimming with life. The vineyards are aglow with fireflies by night and dancing with ladybugs by day. ―We began to break up the clods of earth and make hummus, raising
earthworms and also rabbits, for their precious manure. Now, we leave the hoeing to the roots of plants we sow in the vineyards, and till under each spring. Sulphur and copper are the only substances used to treat infection. And
only if absolutely necessary, because sunlight and clean air are perceived to be the best medicine to make the vines healthy, strong, and resistant to disease and bad weather. Work in the vineyard is vigorous and vines are monitored from the time the first buds appear in the spring,
whereupon a preliminary selection of the bunches is made. Before the invaiatura (or veraison) the grape bunches are checked. Grapes tend to be reach optimal maturity between the end of September and the first week of October.
The must macerates long on the skins before fermenting to capture the character and the flavours
of the land from which it springs.