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Vinsanto and Cantuccini: what else in Siena?

The variety of Tuscan wines is really interesting, starting from the Chianti and ending with the famous Sassicaia. But the Vinsanto (wine of the saints) has another history.

The Vinsanto in the history

Offer your friends Vin Santo is a living tradition, coming from a time when every family produced it according to their own secret recipe. This wine has legendary origins; there are various theories about the origin of the name; the first mention dates to the beginning of Christianity, perhaps that reflects a pure wine suited to the rite of the Mass.

Another version attributes the birth at the end of 1439, when Pope Eugene IV called a council to discuss the union of the Western and Eastern Church. Seven hundred prelates were the Greeks, and between them a humanist Cardinal Bessarion, bishop of Nicaea, tasting the sweet Tuscan wine exclaimed, "But this is Xanthos!" (wine produced on the Greek island of Xanthos), then transformed into Latin "Santus.

How to get a good Vin Santo

Vin Santo was produced by collecting the best grapes and let them dry on wooden mats or hanging them on hooks. At the end the grapes were crushed and the juice was transferred into barrels of various woods which had just been taken off the production of Vin Santo previous year.

The barrels were sealed and located in the attic of the main house or in an attic, since it was believed that the extreme temperature changes in summer and winter was benefitting to fermentation and to notes of the wine. It took a long time of aging, at last three years, to taste a good Vin Santo (although some manufacturers grew old for more than ten years).

Every year Montefollonico ( a little mediaeval borough near Torrita di Siena), becomes "The village of Vin Santo" for all lovers of oenology at a high level. Here are producers who work with love, devoting great attention to the preservation of a tradition to protect an expression of a feeling of attachment to traditions and values.

Info

The yearly fair of Vinsanto, called “Lo gradireste un goccio di Vin Santo?”, will take place in December, 8-11, in the alleys and streets of Montefollonico.

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