Name of varietal: Vernaccia

Common synonyms: Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Parentage of the grape: indigenous to Italy

History of the grape: While there is another white Vernaccia offshoot in Italy (the Vernaccia di Oristano in Sardinia) when one says simply “Vernaccia,” one is referring to Vernaccia di San Gimignano, the star white grape from around that Medieval town in Tuscany. The name refers either to a derivation of the word “vernaculus,” Latin for local, meaning it’s the local grape, or the town of Vernazza in Liguria, where it might have come from. This grape has been around for centuries, with earliest written references from the 13th century. Vernaccia was the favorite wine of Pope Martin IV. In Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, he placed Pope Martin in Purgatorio, forever made to eat eels pickled in Vernaccia for his sins of gluttony.  

After the Phylloxera crisis of the late 1800s, many of the Vernaccia plantings were replaced with Trebbiano Read more »

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