Vin Brusco is a tradition in San Gimignano: it was
the white wine the farmers made from grapes culled from the Chianti vineyards.
Come harvest, they began by gathering the white grapes, pressed them in the
tank, took the free-run must to make Vin Brusco, and then continued with
the harvest of the red grapes, which they added to the skins of the white
grapes, which thus contributed to the red wines.
The white grapes were, according to the old rules governing
Chianti production, Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca.
Trebbiano is the latest-ripening of the four grape types
that were planted in the vineyards, but people accepted this because the
harvest was a single passage through the vineyards, whose timing was dictated
by the ripeness of the red grapes. The considerable acidity imparted by the
Trebbiano helped the wine keep, but also made it Brusco, in other words
In 1966 Vernaccia became Italy's first DOC wine and captured
the attentions of both the Sangimignanesi and the market, with the result that
Vin Brusco was set aside and quickly forgotten.
In 1978 Montenidoli revived this wine: The grapes are
harvested when perfectly ripe, the cold must macerates on the skins,
fermentation is temperature controlled, and the wine rests on its lees until it
is bottled as Vinbrusco.
Montenidoli's Vinbrusco has many admirers: The first among
many was the late Franco Colombani, chief of the European Sommeliers, who
offered it year after year in his restaurant, Ristorante Il Sole di
Maleo, and selected it to accompany the historic menus he created.
Food-Wine Pairing: Cold cuts, canned fish, tuna,
sardines, anchovies, fish-based antipasti, meats and vegetables, sweetbreads,
rabbit, white asparagus, and tannic foods such as artichokes, or iron-rich
foods such as liver or spinach. Excellent with saffron and Oriental