The label is gold, the most precious of colors. It could not be any other way for Panizzi,'s top wine Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva. It is the winner of Tre Bicchieri with Vini d'Italia del Gamero Rosso, an award obtained for the 1998, 2005 and 2007 vintages and almost achieved several other times. There are many reasons why this wine is so appreciated.
What makes this wine so special?
Riserva is the emblem of quality Vernaccia di San Gimignano, an elegant, classy wine. A huge white wine that provides nothing less than its French cousins, a wine to be uncorked on great occasions, with great durability: after fifteen, twenty years, it will not lose any of its excellent features.
Susanna Santini, Panizzi's Sales Manager, knows that she has a winning weapon when she tours the world promoting quality Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a wine that she loves to refer to as "the best white wine in the world". "When I give out tastings, I always let my clients try our Vernaccia of San Gimignano DOCG followed by our Riserva, to show what this amazing vine offers right after the harvest and what it is able to offer after a careful aging in wood and bottle. Drinking these two wines in direct comparison shows the qualitative peaks that Vernaccia di San Gimignano can achieve."
Let's take a clores look, then.
After the harvest, the wine faces a fermentation in new barriques and a subsequent refinement, in the same fermentation wood, for a year. A period of several months in steel follows and then the wine is subjected to a further aging in the bottle of at least two years. In the end, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva is made available on the market almost four years after the harvest.
When we are finally ready to drink it, the color is straw yellow, bright with greenish tones, like gold. The aroma is large, aristocratic, very varied and balanced: flowers in bloom, walnut, bunch and melon, which blend with vanilla notes harmonized with the smell of smoked mineral. The taste makes this a wine of character, concentrated, sapid, perfectly balanced, with a finish enlivened by an acidic balance. Complex, mineral, it has a long persistence with an aftertaste of ripe fruit.
It has a 13.5% alcohol content and it should be served at a temperature of 13-14 ° C. It is well paired with baked fish, white meats, delicatessen sauce, seasoned cheese, creamy herbaceous cheeses (full tech sheet available here)
What's the story of this wine?
Its history begins immediately after the birth of the company. Let's see it together.
It is 1990 and Vernaccia di San Gimignano Panizzi has just hit the market. Critics are positive and there is great encouragement. Giovanni Panizzi immediately and passionately dedicates himself to the production of a first Riserva to give full significance to the selection of the best grapes of the company, which, as is known, are used to produce the wine bearing this name. So he selects the best grapes from Vigna Santa Margherita, the first vineyard of Panizzi and produces the first version of Riserva Panizzi.
In the next few years, Giovanni's attention focuses on a vineyard in Pancole (an area in the north of San Gimignano), considered very well suited to produce Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva. Exposure is optimal, the vines are very old and promise to give extraordinary results: Giovanni does not waste time and rents it. He even amplifies it, using cuttings made with the vegetation material taken from this same vineyard and from Vigna Santa Margherita.
In 2011, there was an important change. New vineyards are tested and in particular two vineyards in the area of Larniano (west of San Gimignano), Villa delle Rose and il Caggio, are identified as suitable to provide Riserva grapes. They are younger vineyards, but the grapes obtained there are almost perfect, both organoleptic-wise and as to thier chemical composition. It is soon decided: they will give them grapes to produce Riserva.
From 2013 onwards, another major decision came. Walter Sovran, Panizzi's winemaker, says: "The qualitative findings of the latest grapes have made it very easy for us to take a very important decision: using only the grapes from Villa delle Rose for Riserva, undoubtedly the best grapes in the farm. The latest vintages of Riserva, 2014, 2015 and 2016, are made of the grapes from this vineyard." The vineyard is 390-400 meters above sea level, on a slightly sloping ground and the direction of the north-south rows, and the soil consists of yellow chestnut, tuff and sandstone.
The next vintage, 2014, which will also be available in the magnum version, is about to come out so everybody stay tuned.