Vin Santo del Chianti – Castello di Meleto 2000
Following the Bread of the Dead it is appropriate to talk about the right wine to accompany our special celebration of our ancestors. This wine is Vin Santo del Chianti or simply Vin Santo. Vin Santo is a sweet wine. Its consistency is thicker than a regular wine but not yet liquor. The origins are hidden in the annals of time. The process jealously guarded, never written down, simply passed from father to son.
The definition of Vin Santo is rather vague. A range of percentages of various grapes combined differently from year to year makes a specific definition somewhat hard to describe. There are several constants, Vin Santo is made primarily of Uva Passita, that is raisins, or at least on the way to becoming raisins. It also must be aged three years and finally, no cheating, Must is not allowed.
Vin Santo, although sweet and easy on the palate, is not to be underestimated as it brings with it a 16% per volume alcohol content. That is higher than the most robust reds. Vin Santo should not be considered a dinner wine and only in rare occasions for aperitif. It is a dessert wine. Vin Santo is the perfect death for most dry pastries, aged cheeses, desserts containing almonds or walnuts, and fruit pies. Most Vin Santo are good but I have found one that has a great quality/price relationship.
Vin Santo del Chianti 2000 by Castello del Meleto is a gracious combination of intense aromas. It has a crisp taste of dried figs, liquorices, caramel, honey, vanilla and hazelnuts. It leaves a slight aftertaste of coffee. The flavors are intense and persistent. This wine goes down very easy but do not be fooled, this wine hits like a mule. Go slow with small sips. Vin Santo is robust enough to compliment the dessert even in small amounts. If the Vin Santo is served as an aperitif, chill to 5 c (41 F). When serving this wine with desserts, chill to 18 centigrade (65 F).
I am not going into the entire production process. The process makes Vin Santo more expensive than other wines and the quantities produced are significantly less than other wines. It should suffice to know that generally, any Vin Santo will be good. Sometimes, like the Castello di Meleto Vin Santo 2000, they offer an exceptional price/quality relationship.
Tags: Castello di Meleto Chianti Sweet Wines Dessert Wines Vin Santo Italian Wine Tuscany Sommelier Food and Wine Travel Italy