Santa Cristina, DOC Vin Santo della Valdichiana, Tuscany, Italy, 2009.
See my Vin Santo entry for details of the typical production process.
This wine: a blend of trebbiano toscano and malvasia, fully ripe grapes dried for 5 months, then gently pressed, the must being passed to oak barrels for fermentation, which ceased naturally at about 17% abv, with residual sugar, followed by 4 year oxidative ageing in the same barrels, bottled November 2014, natural cork closure, 17.5% abv, 375ml, Waitrose £12 (2015)
Consumer tasting note: a big maderised (oxidised) nose, like boal or sercial Madeira, a little high-toned with strong aromas of thick cut dark marmalade, dried citrus and stone fruits, nuts and christmas cake; medium dry, with 17% alcohol, so less residual sugar than some vin santo, with marmalade and nuts again with burnt honey and caramelised nuances. Very long.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity amber, showing tears
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of slightly high-toned rich dark marmalade, dried citrus, sultanas, raisins, crystallised fruits, dried peach and apricot, roast hazelnuts, thin warm honey, prune, christmas cake, walnuts.
Palate: medium-dry, high acidity, high alcohol, a full body, pronounced intensity, a low-key grip from time in oak and a velvety texture, with flavours of dark marmalade, dried citrus, roast hazelnuts and walnuts, burnt honey. A long length with a palate cleansed dried citrus finish, with a little bitterness on the end.
Quality: a very good quality wine, palate cleansing acidity in tune with residual sugar and the perfect foil to the intense madeira-like notes of dark marmalade, dried fruits, christmas cake and nuts; intense with concentrated oxidised and barrel aged flavours, showing some rather than outstanding complexity, a very long length with a cleansed palate in the end.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: can drink now, will not improve, but will hold for 5-10 years, essentially quite bullet proof owing to extended oxidative ageing.