Castello di Volpaia

Tuscany, Italy

Vinsanto del Chianti Classico DOC – 2003

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  • Introduction

    • History
      Vin Santo has been an important part of Tuscan wine history since the Middle Ages. There are many theories about the origin of its name. A legend from Siena tells of a friar who in 1348 cured the sick with the wine normally used by the brothers to celebrate mass. Word spread that this was a miraculous wine, leading to the name “santo,” or “holy,” — although another less picturesque explanation cannot be ruled out, which is simply the association of this wine with its customary use during the mass. The recognition of the Vin Santo del Chianti DOC in August 1997 marked an important stage in the quality evaluation of this highly traditional Tuscan wine.

  • Label

    • The Label:

      The Vinsanto del Chianti Classico label features the Commenda di Sant’Eufrosino, the second of four churches built within the city’s walls. Attributed to Italian architect and sculptor Michelozzo di Bartolomeo (1396-1472), the church was built in 1443 by request of the Canigiani family who lived in Volpaia. One of the family members wished to join the Knights of Malta, a religious order and military brotherhood ruled by a “Grand Master” that answered only to the Pope. The Knights of Malta required that the Canigianis build a church in Volpaia before joining the religious order. The Commenda was deconsecrated in 1932 and declared a national monument in 1981. For 13 years, until 1993, the Commenda housed a renowned art collection. The Commenda is now used for dinners, tastings and other events and its basement contains one of Volpaia’s barrel-aging cellars.

  • Vineyard Profile

    • Vineyards: Casalino
    • Cultivation: Certified organic
    • Composition: 50% Trebbiano and 50% Malvasia del Chianti
    • Size: 0.62 hectare (1.55 acres)
    • Vine Age: Planted 1988
    • Elevation: 650 meters (2,130 feet)
    • Density: 5,698 vines/hectare (2,306 vines/acre)
    • Training: Cane pruned
  • Vintage Report

    • 2003 year was characterized by a hot, dry summer, which ripened the grapes early and dried some slightly.

    • Harvest Date(s): September 11-18
  • Vinification

    • Volpaia uses the same labor-intensive process that was used hundreds of years ago to produce its Vinsanto. Towards the end of the growing season, before Volpaia harvested its white grapes, the winery picked the best bunches of Trebbiano and Malvasia to go into the Vinsanto. The grapes were taken to the winery’s vinsantaia, a special attic where the bunches were hung from chains tied to the rafters and dried. The windows were kept open in the vinsantaia for the next few months, ensuring that the air in the large room was constantly being circulated. In February, once the grapes’ sugar reached optimum levels, they were pressed and the juice put through a natural process of clarification. The highly-concentrated must was then fermented for five years in small caratelli oak barrels already containing “madre,” or “mother,” — a remnant of the thick residue left over from Vinsanto that had already been bottled. The wine was bottled on February 17, 2006.

  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 50% Trebbiano, 50% Malvasia Bianca del Chianti
    • Production (in cases): 300 cases
    • Production Case Pack: 6/375ml
    • Cases Imported: 20
    • Alcohol: 16.5%
  • Tasting Notes

    • The 2003 Vinsanto displays aromas of toasted almonds and hazelnuts. It is velvety and creamy, with flavors that are reminiscent of dried fruit.



  • Vinsanto del Chianti Classico DOC – 2003

    The 2003 Vinsanto displays aromas of toasted almonds and hazelnuts. It is velvety and creamy, with flavors that are reminiscent of dried fruit.

  • Vinsanto del Chianti Classico DOC – 2003 – 92 points – Wine Enthusiast

    “An attractive Vin Santo opens with integrated aromas of honey, candied chestnut, maple syrup, dried fruit and apricot. The 2003 vintage was a hot one, but this beautiful wine takes that heat and turns it into intensity. Finishes full and soft.”

  • Vinsanto del Chianti Classico DOC – 2003 – 92 points – Wine & Spirits

    "Golden in color... this wine has tremendous depth and dimension to its flavors. It bristles with spice, contrasting sweetness with drier notes of wood tannin. The flavors grow more expansive with air, making this a wine of meditation...."