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Characteristics

The San Gimignano appellation allows the production of nine different types of wine. Of these, six are red wines (some of which bear the mention “riserva”), one is a rosé and two are Vinsanto, which, from the analytical and organoleptic viewpoint, present very evident and specific characteristics which are described in article 6 of the regulations, which allow clear identification linked to the geographic context.

“Rosso” is made with a minimum of 50% Sangiovese, up to a maximum 40% of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Nero, either alone or in combination, and up to a maximum 15% of other non-aromatic red grape varieties suitable for cultivation in Tuscany.

In addition to Rosso it is possible to make five other types of wine with the indication of the following grape varieties: Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Nero. To be able to indicate these types on the label, the wines must contain a minimum 85% of the grape variety used.

Rosato (rosé) must be made with the same grape varieties as Rosso: a minimum of 50% Sangiovese, up to a maximum 40% of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Nero, either alone or in combination, and up to a maximum 15% of other non-aromatic red grape varieties suitable for cultivation in Tuscany.

Vinsanto allows the use of a minimum 30% Trebbiano Toscano, a maximum 50% Malvasia del Chianti and a maximum 20% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. A maximum 10% of other white grape varieties suitable for cultivation in Tuscany can be used.

Vinsanto Occhio di Pernice must be made using at least 50% Sangiovese, while the other 50% can consist of other grape varieties suitable for cultivation in Tuscany.

As regards the red wines, these are distinguished by a more or less intense ruby red colour, tending towards garnet with age; the rosé wines must have a more or less bright pink colour; the colour of San Gimignano Vinsanto spans from bright yellow to gold, while that of San Gimignano Vinsanto Occhio di Pernice goes from deep pink to pale pink. At olfactory level, delicate, intense and varietal aromas are present depending on the type of wine. All the wines taste dry and harmonious, while the various types of Vinsanto are smooth and velvety.

The grape varieties used for both red wine and Vinsanto and the vinification techniques have always been the same used throughout most of the Tuscan hills; however, the particular soil and microclimate of San Gimignano allow the production of grapes with different specific characteristics to those grown in the neighbouring areas. These characteristics, such as the phenolic component for red wine and savouriness, are then transmitted to the wines, making them unique and recognisable in the panorama of Tuscan wines. The different percentage combination between sand, clay, organic substance and heavy stone that characterises each type of soil is the determinant pedological element from the winegrowing-oenological point of view in order to enhance the savouriness and capacity for ageing, characteristics which are shared by the different types of San Gimignano DOC.

The winemaking methods are those traditionally consolidated in the area for vinification of red and rosé wines and Vinsanto, correctly differentiated by type.

The production area falls entirely within the Municipal district of San Gimignano, situated in the northwest part of the province of Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, halfway between the Tyrrhenian coast and the Apennines.
The altitude of the vineyards is between 70 and 500 m above sea level, with variable slope and exposure depending on the hills where they are positioned.

This is why the farms of San Gimignano have always been recognised by wine traders for the quality and character of the wines produced, evolving more and more, so much so that, in the 20th century, the spirit of research of the winegrowers gave life to a series of experiments which led to the stable cultivation on the hills of San Gimignano of international red grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Pinot Nero, as well as expanding traditional vinification techniques with the use of wooden containers in different sizes.