Vini da Meditazione

Vini da Meditazione: What is a vini da meditazione? It’s an intriguing term often seen in Italian wine notes. It looks like the word “meditation,” or “Meditation wine” but in Italian it means much more. Coined by famous Italian gastronome, Luigi Veronelli, meditazione is often used to describe sweet passito wines or profound red wines aged for a long time in wood and in the bottle.  But it also includes how you taste the wine.

Vini da Meditazione

What is “Vini da Meditazione?”    

What is a vini da meditazione? It’s an intriguing term often seen in Italian wine notes. It looks like the word “meditation,” or “Meditation wine” but in Italian it means much more.

Coined by famous Italian gastronome, Luigi Veronelli, meditazione is often used to describe sweet passito wines or profound red wines aged for a long time in wood and in the bottle.  But it also includes how you taste the wine. Based on my understanding a vini da meditazione means:

It is, in part, about the quality of the wine: it often includes quiet sweet wines, the ones with no bubbles, produced mostly with raisins. In Tuscany the most famous member of the class is undoubtedly the Vin Santo, which is obtained from Trebbiano and Malvasia, left to dry hanging on hooks or lay on mats of reeds. Evaporation of liquid present in the grapes allows a higher concentration of the sugars to remain. This way you develop a greater amount of alcohol: if the complete process is done you have a dry wine, but the current trend is to leave part of the sugars present. This is for two main reasons: the first is that the sweet taste at the end of a meal is most welcome. The second is that in this way the winemaker obtains a softness and roundness of taste that satisfies the palate of even more sophisticated consumers.  Vin Santo is then aged 8 years in wood.

Another method of drying is the one that involves the exposure of the grapes to the sun, stretched out on the floor on sheets or in layers of straw such as Amarone. It normally takes place in a warm and sunny location with little rainfall.  Meditazione can also include important red wines, wines with a long vinification process from vine to bottle such as Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (at least 5 years in oak), Barolo Riserva (5 years in oak), and then more years in the bottle.

The concept is more than just the wine; it also includes the manner in which you drink the wine – with an attitude of understanding its complexity and history. Stop and slow down, even in the busiest of restaurants, or lives, this wine urges a pause.  This wine should be approached calmly, reflectively to understand its complexity and composition. It is important to say that the essential ingredient that allows you to make the consumption of this wine even more unique is your state of mind in which you taste it.  For a meditation wine it may not be appropriate to serve it with a main plate of food because of the strong flavors and scents that emanate from the glass – and because dining encourages conversation.

These are wines that should be slowly sipped alone or at most with a piece of cheese or a biscuit, and while conversation has ebbed, even if just for a few minutes. Similarly, In France, often the most profound red wine of the evening is served not with the meal itself but after the meal with the cheese course.

With autumn upon us, it opens their season best! Beechwood Inn will be featuring a on a number of its autumn and winter menus a  “Vini da Meditazione.” So let the conversation ebb for just a moment as you sip a wine worth contemplating.

By Chef David Darugh

Vini da Meditazione can also be spelled Vino da Meditazione

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