Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny



Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What can you tell me about vin santo?

—Stephanie Lynn Gelberd, Irving, Calif.

Dear Stephanie,

Vin santo is a late-harvest wine from Italy, generally Tuscany. It’s usually made from white grapes, namely Trebbiano or Malvasia, that are semi-dried before being pressed and fermented; then the wines are stored in small barrels for up to 10 years, usually in attics which turn hot and cold with the seasons. There is a wide diversity in styles, from sweet dessert versions to dry, Sherry-like styles, and quality varies widely, too. Prices in our database for a half-bottle of vin santo range from about $15 upward to around $250. For the good stuff, you should expect to pay at least $30 or so.

Many, many years ago, when I was first falling in love with wine, friends brought back a bottle of vin santo from Italy along with a bag of tiny almond biscotti called cantucci. They showed me how to soften the biscotti in the wine, which made the rock-hard biscotti fun to nibble on and really brought out the nutty, dried fruit flavors in the wine. I’ve had a soft spot for vin santo ever since.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.