According to many, the word "vernaccia" can be traced back to the name of Vernazza, an internationally renowned town in the Cinque Terre. The vine has been cited since the fourteenth century, and even appears in Dante's Purgatory. But like many grape names, such as trebbiano, "vernaccia" too should be seen as a generic etymology: "vernaccia" is the vernacular grape, i.e. "of the place", "local", a name therefore that is adaptable to many wine-growing realities and numerous grape varieties, both white and red.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is one of the noblest white vernaccias in Italy, and certainly produces the most important native Tuscan white. It has been cited since 1276 and celebrated by Sante Lancerio, the bottle-maker of Pope Paul III, and gives intense straw-coloured wines, with wide and elegant aromas of white or yellow fruit and almond. With evolution, to which this wine is absolutely suited, it shows hints of macerated flowers, candied citrus fruits, hydrocarbon, walnut husk and flint. On the palate, depending on the ageing, which can also take place in wood and after maceration on the skins, it is full-bodied, balanced, of excellent sapidity, persistent and full of character.