2019 Il Colombaio di Santachiara, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG “Campo della Pieve” Tuscan Wine Wine, Italy.
The small family run winery, Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara, formerly a historic Parish known as San Donato, with buildings, chapel and farmland, has being become one of San Gimignano’s best producers, focusing on the Vernaccia grape and making wine of precision and elegance far removed from the generic light versions, which were far too common in this region until recently. The property, owned Mario Logi, and run by his three sons Giampiero, Stefano and Alessio, who is the winemaker, is now called Locanda dei Logi, and is beautiful inn and winery just a short distance from the famous hilltop town with those ancient towers, San Gimignano, and just a short drive away from Siena. The Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara’s three fabulous bottlings of DOCG Vernaccia di San Gimignano are each distinct and delight the palate, with a stainless, wood aged and this “Campo della Pieve” being cement raised are all stunning whites with depth and grace, but I chose this one for the purity, energy and complexity, though it was a tougher choice than I could have imagined. The “Campo della Pieve” is wonderfully mineral driven with delicate aromas and a light herbal/spicy element and a fine salty crispness, it shows white blossoms, wet stones, lemon/lime, tart peach and a hint almond oil. There is a brisk dryness here and it is mouth watering, but there is a lovely vinous quality that puts everything into a harmonious state of balance, this is incredible stuff. This golden straw yellow Vernaccia di San Gimignano is brilliant with food and especially fish dishes, though flexible enough to go with a lot of different things, including as the winery suggests, soft and hard cheeses or wild mushroom risotto.
Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara was one of my best finds at the 2022 San Francisco Slow Wine tasting and I owe Santi, of Vinity Wine Company (importer), a big thank you for finding me and taking me over to these wines, which I could have easily overlooked and missed out on an incredible set of white wines. The estate is holistically farmed and Mario and his sons are constantly among their vines, and like most producers, they believe a great wine is the result of great vines in a great terroir. The vineyard’s health requires hard work and lots of attention, and the Logi’s put the time in here, it shows in the wines. Mario, who has worked the land here since his teens in the 1950s, and his sons wanted to create a healthy biosphere on the estate for the vines and surrounding plants and it is for that the reason they worked hard to obtain full organic certification. All this has paid off handsomely, and with the help of oenologist, Nicola Berti, who has mentored Alessio in the cellar and who has instigated shorter maceration(s), resulting in wines that, the winery says, are more balanced, fresher and elegant, while still having sensational palate impact and mouth feel, as I found here in this lovely Campo della Pieve. This single vineyard, 100% Vernaccia di Gimignano, was sourced from vines set on chalky soils composed of old Pliocene sands and clays, it saw a soft pressing of the grapes, with indigenous yeast fermentation all cool and temperature controlled to preserve those pretty aromatics. The Campo della Pieve’s maturation is done on the fine lees and takes place in cement vats, seeing, the winery says, periodic bâtonnage (stirring) for close to 20 months, which adds the texture and length, while maintaining vitality and lift. This wine opens up and keeps getting better and better, giving me confidence that this will age well too, I highly recommend searching for these Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara wines.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive