Montenidoli, “Fiore,” Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2012
The Region: Toscana
Located in central Italy, Toscana’s rolling hills and forested valleys are home to some of the peninsula’s most beautiful works of art and architecture. The region is also hailed for its superb wines. And it is there that one of the world’s noble red varietals, Sangiovese, achieves its greatest heights.
Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are the classic appellations. But modernity has made its mark in Toscana, and the Super Tuscans of Bolgheri and the Maremma have brought new fame with their Bordeaux grapes.
Not to be overlooked are Toscana’s bracing, mineral-driven white wines, none more famous than the Vernaccia from the gorgeous walled town of San Gimignano. Enjoyed since at least the Middle Ages, Vernaccia is a perfect match for the local food: rustic, with a focus on the bounty of the woodlands. Wild game plays an especially important role at the table, and it is common to see boar, rabbit and pigeon on the menu.
The Wine: Montenidoli, “Fiore”, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2012
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is best known as the very first wine granted DOC status in Italy. The classification was introduced in 1966, and in 1993 Vernaccia di San Gimignano was “upgraded” to DOCG status. Records of the white wine from this small hilltop town go back many centuries, with Dante singing its praises in the early 14th Century.
Long before the Romans conquered the area, the Etruscans were busy in their vineyards. It is on just such a piece of land thought to have been worked by the Etruscans over two millennia ago that Elisabetta and Sergio Fagiuoli founded their small estate in 1965. The wines of Montenidoli have since achieved something of a cult status, especially among lovers of elegant rosato and minerally whites. Today Elisabetta makes three Vernaccias; Tradizionale, Fiore and Carato.
The 2012 Fiore is 100% Vernaccia, made solely from the free-run juice that escapes the grapes in the press. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, after which the wine spends extended time on its lees. This extra lees contact lends structure and aromatic complexity to the finished wine, setting it apart from others in the region. The wine has an alluring, almost floral nose, with hints of sea shell, lemon, and apricot. On the palate there is freshness and acidity from the ancient seabed soils, and the wine finishes with a touch of richness.
The Five Ws
Who: Elisabetta Fagiuoli, indefatigable proprietress of Montenidoli.
What: A classic expression of 100% Vernaccia crafted from free-run juice in the appellation’s greatest cellar.
When: Enjoyed since before the Renaissance, for the entire month of July the 2012 Fiore is being paired with Rabbit Porchetta and Shaved Fennel Salad. The brisk acidity and crisp nature of the wine refreshes the palate after each bite of savory rabbit, while the delicate and elegant nose is a perfect match to the aromatic fennel.
Where: San Gimignano DOCG, in the province of Siena, in the heart of Toscana. The Montenidoli estate comprises 24 hectares of vineyards surrounded by wooded hillsides. The soil is primarily calcareous sediment left by the ancient rise and fall of the Ligurian Sea. These marine deposits contribute to the complex aromatics and acidity found in the wine.
Why: Because we think Elisabetta Fagiuoli is making some of the most delicious and compelling wines from all of Toscana.