(Vernaccia pronunciation: Vair-NAH-chah)
Vernaccia is one of the most common and famous white grape varieties found in numerous Italian wines. Its name is derived from the Latin term vernaculus, meaning a particular place or location, and the Italian word vernaculo, which means indigenous. The common Vernaccia white wine grape ranges in color from pale yellow to a more golden shade as it ages. Its most renowned form is produced in Tuscany, called Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany being a home to countless celebrated red wines makes this Italian white wine’s success even more extraordinary.
The soil in which the Vernaccia di San Gimignano grapes grow is a crucial part of the process and flavoring to create the best Vernaccia wine. Full of calcareous sediments and fossils, this soil is ideal for producing robust and mineral white wines. The very popular Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a dry wine with a light to medium body. It produces a fruity taste of bright citrus and a crisp acidic flavor, followed by a slightly bitter finish. To be a Vernaccia wine, it must be primarily made from Vernaccia grapes, though some winemakers include slight amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or some other non-aromatic white wines.
Vernaccia is best to be served chilled and consumed young spending about one to three years in the cellar. It pairs best with pasta dishes in white sauce, fried dishes, fish, white meat, and herb sauces to bring out the herbal notes in the wine.
We featured this unusual grape in our International Wine Club featuring artisan wines from Italy. If you stumble upon a bottle, be sure to snatch it up! It is not a common varietal found in the US.