Vino Santo del Trentino: history, places of production and characteristics

by Redazione Fine Taste

Today we want to talk to you about a very particular and rare wine: Vino Santo Trentino.

Why is it called that? Where is it produced? What features does it have?

The inspiration to give you some information on this wine comes from our collaboration with the Pisoni winery, famous for being among the few that produces this particular wine. We have known him for years, but it was very useful and interesting to deepen his knowledge

Let's start by saying that we must not confuse Vino Santo Trentino with the certainly more famous Tuscan one. Even though both are "raisin" wines, they have completely different characteristics.

Vino Santo Trentino Slow Food Fine Taste Presidium

History: why is it called Vino Santo?

From a historical point of view, it is difficult to exactly date the presence of Vino Santo Trentino. In general terms, the tradition of sweet, passito wines was introduced to Italy in the Middle Ages thanks to Venetian traders who imported them from nearby Greece.

Even on the term Saint there are no precise documents to refer to. Most likely it derives from the fact that the grapes, now withered, were pressed close to Easter Holy Week, or because it was a wine that was used to celebrate Mass.

At a chronological level, the first official document attesting to the presence of this wine in Trentino dates back to 1508. Vino Santo Trentino was part of the assets that the owner of Toblino Castle had to "donate" to the bishop of the city of Trento.

Place of production of Vino Santo Trentino: the Valle dei Laghi

The Valle dei Laghi indicates the territory between Lake Garda and the city of Trento, the so-called lower Sarca Valley.

As the name suggests, it is an area where the presence of small lakes predominates: Terlago, Santa Messere, Toblino, Cavedine... From a landscape point of view, a beautiful area but, above all, a terroir with the ideal climate for production of Vino Santo and for drying the grapes.

Ventilation is almost constant and guaranteed by the neighboring Lake Garda thanks to the two winds: the Pelèr, the north wind and the Ora, the south wind. Furthermore, the small surrounding lakes favor the right humidity for the growth of the " Botrytis cinerea", the famous "noble rot" that develops inside grape berries, causing dehydration but also enriching their sensorial profile.

The characteristics of Vino Santo Trentino

The grape from which Vino Santo is obtained is Nosiola, which finds its perfect habitat in the Valle dei Laghi. It is curious to note that, despite being the only native white grape variety in Trentino, its cultivation is very limited, corresponding to approximately only one percent of the entire Trentino vineyard area!

Let's now get to the heart of the topic.

The grapes are harvested when fully ripe during the late harvest, between the end of September and mid-October and placed in drying racks, where the bunches are placed on special racks. Gradually, as time passes, thanks to the combined effect of the wind and Botrytis cinerea, the natural withering process is generated.

At the end of this process, the grape reduces its volume by approximately 30-40%, concentrating all the sugars and aromatic nuances. As already indicated, tradition dictates that the pressing takes place during Holy Week.

Once the must has been obtained, the very long maturation process begins in small oak or acacia barrels. For bottling, most producers wait ten or more years.

Think what an exquisite nectar you get. A wine of great balance and refinement, with sweet notes that are never cloying and with an incredible aromatic range!

A truly unique and particular product, Slow Food Presidium since 2013.

To taste it, click here!