If you're a fan of sweet, dessert wines, then you'll definitely want to give Vin Santo a try. This Italian wine, which is especially popular in Tuscany, is made from dried grapes and has a golden or amber color. It is often referred to as "holy wine" and is traditionally enjoyed on special occasions.
There are both dry and sweet versions of Vin Santo, with the sweet version being particularly popular. It's not uncommon for this wine to be used in the Catholic Mass, as well. The production process for Vin Santo is quite involved, as the grapes are dried using a variety of methods, including hanging on wire or plastic, or on mats made of bamboo or rush.
Once the grapes have been dried, they are pressed and the juice is placed in small barrels made of chestnut, oak, pear, or cherry. The juice then undergoes a long fermentation process in well-ventilated chambers, which allows it to develop its unique flavors and aromas.
In the past, barrels were sealed with cement and could only be opened once the wine was ready. Nowadays, producers often choose to control the process more closely by keeping the barrels open, and sealing them with wax instead. Vin Santo is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or dessert wine. It is also often paired with the famous Italian almond cakes, known as "cantuccini," which are dipped in the wine. The taste of Vin Santo can range from dry to sweet, and it has a minimum alcohol content of 15.5%. It also has a long aging potential, with some bottles able to be stored for up to 20 years.