The Gianelli family runs Azienda Agricola San Benedetto, a producer of wine and olive oil in the Chianti region of Tuscany. The family has nearly a century of history growing wine grapes and olives, beginning in the 1920s. For years prior, the family had been sharecroppers for a farm called Casaccia. As the tenant farmers began to buy their lands, the Gianellis -- brothers Dario and Guiseppe -- bought land near San Benedetto. They built a winery on their property in 1975. The farm and agriturismo is now owned by Giovanni Marinaro (Giuseppe's son) and Andrea and Marco Gianelli (Dario's grandsons).
San Benedetto has 25 hectares of vineyards and 2 of olive groves. Eighty percent of the grapes are red grapes, mostly Sangiovese with some Canaiolo, Malvasia, Colorino, and Ciliegiolo (which mostly add color to the red wine), along with a bit of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Montepulciano. Seventy percent of the white grapes are Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and the rest are Trebbiano, Malvasia, Vermentino, and Sancolombano. The red grapes go into Chianti Tradizione and Chianti Riserva, plus an everyday and a more elegant red blends, and Vin Santo and Grappa. San Bendetto also produces Vernaccia and Vermentino whites.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a special white wine. Unlike Sangiovese, which is grown all over Tuscany (although it can only be called Chianti if it's grown in a certain part of Tuscany), this grapes is grown in a relatively small geographical area. It has aromas of apricots, apples, and flowers, with citrus and tropical fruit flavors. It's aged in steel, but the Marco told us he's working on an oak-aged Vernaccia for future releases. We'll be there when he does! But for now, this is the perfect wine for non-tomato-based northern Italian food, plus a wide range of seafood and poultry.
||Dry White Wine
||DOCG Vernaccia di San Gimignano
||Vernaccia di San Gimignano
||Azienda Agricola San Benedetto
Fish, seafood, poultry, mild cheeses, creamy sauces, pasta, salads