Assolato, Toscana Passito Bianco Podere Casaccia
The almond biscuits “cantucci” are traditionally paired with Vin Santo - “holy wine”. The name stems from the fact that is was mainly used during the Christian rituals of Communion. There is a long tradition of making Vin Santo, based on know-how passed down from generation to generation. Roberto is making his version of holy wine, which is slightly different from the tradition in two ways.
In the traditional process, the grapes are harvested when ripe and then put to dry on straw mats, for two months or longer. After crushing the grapes, they are left to ferment and, at the end of fermentation, put in small chestnut barrels of about 50 litres, where the secondary fermentation occurs. Each barrel holds its own native yeasts and makes a slightly different wine.
In order to bring out the full characteristics of the wine, these small vats are kept in a place - and this is a major difference from making other wines - where there is a huge thermal excursion, namely the loft of these farmhouses. Here, the hot summer days and the cold winter days “hit” the wine and bring out all its extremes. After years of ageing, the small barrels are then “assembled”. An expert winemaker tastes the content of each barrel and decides what percentage of which barrels must be combined with the content of other barrels. Thus, every Vin Santo is different and is a reflection of the grapes, the summer sun, the winter cold and especially, of the winemaster’s taste and skills.
Roberto uses oak, not chestnut casks, and leaves the wine in them for at least five years. The result justifies the name “Assolato”, which means “blessed by the sun”: dried figs, dates, almonds and nuts prevail, with a honey and flowery finish. Pineapple and banana also appear at times.
Wonderful! This is the perfect companion for our “cantucci”!