Vin Santo, the Saint's Wine, is my favorite category of dessert wine.
Wines conforming to this Tuscan DOC are typically made from Trebbiano and/or Malvasia grapes that are harvested and then left to dry on racks or straw mats in well ventilated areas of the cellar. The ventilation is key, as it prevents mold from developing. Vin Santo is subjected to long aging in barrel, where it deepens the color of the wine and fosters a myriad of aromas and flavors.
Despite the vast amount of quality Tuscan wine producers, I've not found many high quality Vin Santo worth purchasing. The best, without question, is by Avignonesi. Their Vin Santo is on a different plane than any other. It's akin to Michael Jordan and everyone else. David Beckham and everyone else. The gap is noticeable.
In the next tier there are a few I love. Isole e Olena makes a great affordable rendition as does the subject of this review, Felsina.
The 2001 Felsina Vin Santo is a deep golden color. The aroma is complex and redolent with almonds, orange peel, maple syrup, and clove. In the mouth, the wine is fresh and vibrant with plenty of acidity. Vin Santo should never be cloying or flabby and this one is not. The orange rind flavors dance on the palate, with honey, brown sugar and nut flavors striking a wonderful balance. Dip some ghiottini in this and you'll know that God loves Vin Santo too. This is all I need for dessert. 93 points. About $28 for a 375ml bottle.
|The Excellent Vin Santo from Felsina|
To provide some context, I did not find this wine as complex or intense as the 2006 Capezzana that I reported on as part of the Slow Wine tasting. It's on par with the Isole e Olena, though I've found that particular wine to be a bit more floral.
These are great wines that you should get to know. In the dessert wine genre, they are complex and more importantly, affordable.