2020 Il Colombaio di Santachiara, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG “Selvabianca” Tuscan Wine Wine, Italy.
I recently reviewed one of the Il Colombaio di Santachiara Vernaccia di San Gimignano wines, but I could not move on without talking about this one, the 2020 Selvabianca, which is distinctly unique in this winery’s collection and is utterly delicious on its own and in its own right with brisk mineral intensity and hyper clarity of flavors and aromas, while having a beautiful textural presence in the glass. Two winemaking friends, Dylan and Tobe Sheldon of Sheldon Wines, are currently visiting Tuscany and taking a few romantic days in Florence, and by chance they had this wine while they were there and it looked perfect on a warm evening in such a dramatically beautiful setting, kicking me to get my own notes out on this one. The prior review on Il Colombaio di Santachiara, I wrote about the cement tank fermented version, which also saw an extended elevage, while this Selvabianca saw only stainless steel, both for fermentation and lees aging, to allow absolute varietal purity, vintage nuance and terroir transparency here. This steely 2020 edition shines brightly with an array of racy citrus, including lemon/lime, white peach, kiwi and quince fruits, as well as a hint of orange blossoms, wet stones, snappy herbs and a touch of almond paste. This is tasty white wine that has lots of character and charm that will be fabulous for Summer sipping and is a great food wine, it is wines like this that show that this region is not a one trick pony where only red wines, usually Sangiovese, rule the day, Tuscany has now a full range of quality white wines. I truly miss Italy and Tuscany, so this wine gave me a wonderful reminder of the joys of travel and this special place, bringing back fond memories of wandering through the narrow alleys of San Gimignano with the ancient towers above, this famous hilltop town is a must visit when in the region, along with the near by Siena and of course Florence.
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 here, 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, that I tried, one wood aged, one cement aged and this Selvabianca, as mentioned, done in stainless, all are outstanding examples that deserve attention, I highly recommend them, especially this one. Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara was, as I noted before, one of my best finds at the 2022 San Francisco Slow Wine tasting. 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. 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. Again, I recommend chasing these down, they have elevated this region greatly and are very exciting wines.
($23 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive