After a winter of normal temperatures, spring was generally characterized by very variable weather including periods of cool temperatures and frequent rainfall which lasted until late June. This weather pattern, above all the significant drops in temperature, caused a delay in flowering and bud set. Climatic conditions then improved, giving way to favorable weather which lasted throughout the summer. Ripening, accordingly, continued at a regular pace, well within the traditional parameters for the season. Picking of the grapes to be used for the Vinsanto began in mid-September.
The grapes, prevalently Malvasia and Trebbiano, sourced from vineyards adjacent to the La Braccesca estate, were regularly monitored and then picked in sequence on the basis of the ripeness level of the various vineyard parcels. The harvest began during the second week of September and finished at the end of the month. The grapes were picked into the cases to be used for their drying in order to maintain the bunches as whole as possible, without damaging skin breakage, avoiding the traditional practice of transferring the grapes from the cases to the drying mats. At the end of drying process, which lasted five months, the grape bunches, very rich in sugar, were softly pressed and their must put into the oak barrels where it was to ferment. The fermentation, which stopped when the wine reached 17° of alcohol along with its residual sugar, was assisted by the “madre”, a gelatinuous, yeast-rich residue from former vintages in the Valdichiana, and by yeasts carefully selected for this type of very sweet must. After an aging period which lasted over two years, the wine was bottled, at an alcohol level of 17°, in October of 2011.
The first vintage of Santa Cristina was produced in 1946 by Marquis Niccolò Antinori. Over the years Santa Cristina has become a reference point for connoisseurs and wine lovers, along with a more general public, thanks to the constant quality commitment of the house. The care and attention which have always been shown in the vineyard and cellar work have been the stimulus for further innovation and for measuring the firm’s winemaking capabilities with both native and international grape varieties, thereby creating an entire family of different products which are nonetheless distinguished by a common style, the fruit of the indissoluble links between the vineyard, the terroir, and the human element in the winemaking. The classic Santa Cristina red wine, the initial wine of the line, has subsequently been joined by Santa Cristina Bianco, Santa Cristina Rosato, and Santa Cristina Le Mastrelle. These, along with Campogrande and Cipresse, together with other specialties such as the Santa Cristina extra virgin olive oil, Donato, and the Santa Cristina Grappa, represent a new phase in a long viticultural tradition.