Pronounced ver-naht-chah, the name is derived from the word “vernaculum”, the Latin term for indigenous. A grape varietal used in the production of white wine. Although the origin is thought to be Greek, it is grown significantly in the Tuscany region of Italy. Cultivated primarily in Tuscany’s Sand Gimignano and Sardegua’s Val Di Tirso. The Vernaccia varietal is most widely known for its part in the production of Vernaccia de San Gimignano wine, the first wine to be classified as an Italian D.O.C. in 1966; it later became classified as an elite D.O.C.G. wine. Although the Vernaccia grape is grown in several Italian districts, the grape from the town of San Gamignano is the most famous.
Also known as: Guarnacha, Granaccia, and Granazza.
Characteristics: During the last 2 decades, the quantity produced has decreased but the quality has been enhanced greatly. Wines made with Vernaccia can vary tremendously in characteristics. Most often a crisp, refreshing, clean, dry, structured wine. Some are sweet and golden in color, with almond, floral, and a slightly citrusy flavor. A few tend to exhibit a slightly oily characteristic.
Ageing: Vernaccia wines that are sweet and golden are best drunk young. Dry Vernaccia are typically aged a minimum of 2 years, allowing them to mellow. Those labeled superiore are aged 3 years, and those labeled riserva are aged 4 years.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 50º-58º F.
Food pairings: As well as being an excellent aperitif, Vernaccia wines also pair well with fish, pasta, grilled poultry, veal chops, shellfish, seafood, bottarga, and desserts (specifically almond).