Credits: © Consorzio del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Tasting conceived and conducted by Alessandro Torcoli, Director of Civiltà del bere
Fattoria Poggio Alloro – Le Mandorle, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara – L’Albereta, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
La Lastra – Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Mormoraia – Ostrea, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Panizzi – Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva
Teruzzi – Sant’Elena, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Bodega Catena – Adrianna Vineyards White Bones Chardonnay Mendoza (Argentina)
Francis Ford Coppola – Director’s Cut Russian River Chardonnay (Stati Uniti d’America)
Greywacke – Wild Sauvignon Marlborough (Nuova Zelanda)
Grosset – Polish Hill Vineyard Clare Valley Riesling (Australia)
The Society’s – Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc (Sudafrica)
The Society’s – Hunter Valley Semillon (Australia)
The title of this year’s tasting, “La Vernaccia di San Gimignano: un grande classico toscano incontra i nuovi classici del mondo. Alla ricerca dei vini di territorio” [“Vernaccia di San Gimignano: a great Tuscan classic meets the new classics of the world – in search of terroir wines”] suggests all the fundamental elements that led Alessandro Torcoli to select the representation of wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California, Argentina. The request from the Consortium was to open the comparison to non-European products, indeed extending the view to global horizons. The emphasis of the meeting is on the concept of “classic” on the one hand, and of “terroir wines” on the other. The two may be complementary, but not equivalent. There are excellent terroir wines that have little to do with classicism, and vice versa, classics that have lost all adherence to the expression of terroir.
The starting conception is that of Vernaccia di San Gimignano as a classic among all Italian whites, still adhering to its traditions of the place, and as an appellation endowed with good consistency, while simultaneously enabling the stylistic expression of individual producers. After tasting over 60 samples, and then re-tasting those with potential for the presentation, Mr Torcoli has ultimately chosen wines of excellence across a broad spectrum of expression, but which all show basic consistency. In any case, apart from a couple of instances, all of the wines considered had expressed themselves with medium-high quality, without expressive deviations.
With the aim of exploring the theme through comparison, the wines selected from the New World are ones now recognized as classics, in the international meaning of the term. According to the definition recently given by John Hoskins, head of the examination committee of the Institute of Masters of Wine, “’Classic’ is a wine with a recognizable style that can be found in the main markets”. And so the author’s selection takes us to the valleys of Hunter and Clare, respectively of eastern and western Australia, and to New Zealand, where a Sauvignon with strong personality is becoming established, and to South Africa, where chenin blanc has taken on a very different character than the French one. Finally, Mr Torcoli has chosen two chardonnays: a global grape variety by definition, so great that it is able to create wines which are different and highly recognisable by origin, as in the examples presented from the Sonoma Valley of California and Mendoza, Argentina.