Dievole's blog

5 facts you might not know about Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice

Occhio di Pernice is what they call a “meditation wine”, because saying it’s a dessert wine would be reductive. It requires meditation both in its drinking and in its production. This unique drink is made from the very best, hand-selected Sangiovese grapes, which are hung to dry in a special room called the “Vinsantaia” for about three months. It may be musted any time until the following March after the previous harvest, obtaining a sugar-dense must that is then aged in small 50 litre chestnut barrels for 60 months. After bottling it ages another 9 months before hitting the shelves.

We’ve just made our 2007 harvest available for sale in just 1842 hand-numbered bottles (it’s available online here in multiples of three) and this stirred up conversation lately about what makes this particular kind of wine so unique.

1) It lasts forever

Occhio di Pernice lasts forever because of its oxidized character and high sugar content. So keep it safe in your wine cellar and you can even will it to your grandchildren 🙂 .

2) It’s all in the barrel (where it ages)

The characteristics that make Occhio di Pernice unique all develop in the barrel during the aging process. After fermentation the must is put into caratelli where it encounters the mother lees, i.e. the remains of the previous Occhio di Pernice that was in that barrel and that passes from generation to generation of wine over hundreds of years. While it ages from 3 to 12 years, this wine gains its unique characteristics and becomes a symphony of flavor.

3) It’s about the Sangiovese

Sangiovese is the grape that makes the difference in a lot of the wines we produce here at Dievole! Occhio di Pernice contains 80% Sangiovese, while regular Vin Santo is made up of only white grapes.

4) Only in Tuscany, you say?

Yes, Occhio di Pernice is only produced in Tuscany. Nowhere else in the world is there anything similar. That’s why you may not have heard the name or known much about it before. Occhio di Pernice is an example of the richness of Tuscan winemaking culture, requiring rare skill and experience to create, but most of all… patience! That’s why only very few wineries produce it in this territory. This is also why it’s recognized around the world as a unique and prestigious beverage, and it is a DOC product.

5) Its really intense

Intense is a word that is often associated with Occhio di Pernice. Dievole’s version is an “intense amber” colour and its perfume is both ethereal and intense – so it’s best tasted in a calm setting, with your eyes closed and without other distractions. That’s when its dreamy notes of almonds, nutmeg and vanilla can truly delight your palate. Despite the intensity, it’s a very well balanced wine with a long persistence making it fit the profile of a meditation wine.