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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Vernaccia, name used for several, unrelated Italian grape varieties, mainly white but sometimes red, vernaculus meaning ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ in Latin. These vary from the extreme north of the peninsula (vernatsch being merely a Germanic version of Vernaccia) to the fizzy red Vernaccia di Serrapetrona of the marche made from the vine variety known locally and in Umbria as Vernaccia Nera which is actually grenache, Vernaccia di Pergola which is a southern Italian synonym for aleatico, and vernaccia di oristano, which is an almost sherry-like Sardinian varietal. The most highly regarded form is the dry white Tuscan varietal vernaccia di san gimignano. Wines called Vernaccia, or sometimes vernage, are often cited in the records of London wine merchants in the Middle Ages, but the term could have been used for virtually any sort of wine, Latin being the common language then. Vernaccia was a particularly common product of liguria in north-west Italy and Tuscany. For more details of medieval trade in Vernaccia, see genoa, italy, and tuscany.