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Jan 13, 2007 04:18 PM

Vin/Vino Santo?

So I am at a great Italian restaurant and I read the wine list and see "Vino Santo" so I tease the owner, a friend. I have NEVER seen it written "Vino Santo," ONLY Vin Santo; it even said Vin Santo right on the label. He said, "No, it can be either." Now, grammatically, I can see what he's saying. But, please, have you ever seen it as "vino santo"?

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  1. In Tuscany it's Vin Santo or Vinsanto, but in Trentino / Alto Adige there's a Vino Santo D.O.C.

    1. *Vino santo* is standard Italian for holy wine. As googling will show (68K hits), it is widely used, and not just in liturgical contexts. Also, the Oxford Companion's entry for vin santo concludes with the following paragraph: "Trentino also produces its own version of Vin Santo called Vino Santo, made from the Nosioloa grape and a decisively sweet dried grape wine. These wines are quite different from Tuscan Vin Santo, since they are aged in barrels subject to regular topping up ... Vinsanto is the official term for the sweet wines of Santorini."

      1 Reply
      1. re: carswell

        I think most of those 68K hits for "vino santo" are mistakes or some other usage. If you Google Italian pages only, you get only 22K hits for "vino santo," and if you exclude Trentino only half that. By comparison, "vin santo" gets 156K and "vinsanto" 87K.

      2. Thanks for the lessons! I never knew about Vino Santo from Trentino. Is it just as good? Different? If so, how?

        Next question: if the wine is from Tuscany, wouldn't it be incorrect to label it Vino Santo on the wine list?

        1. If we rate most common ortographic errors on wine lists form 1 (light) to 10 (real bad), this one would rate probably 0.23

          1. I have a bottle of Villa Puccini Santo Vino (not Vino Santo) from Pontedera, Pisa in Tuscany here in front of me that I'm going to try tonight. The spelling variations may just be from whatever a wine maker wants to call the wine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JMF

              Odd, they used to call it Vin Santo, maybe still do on some bottles:


              In some regions the names are legally defined by the DOC statutes. Villa Puccini may have changed it to Santo Vino because they're doing something different than the DOC rules allow. I'm skeptical that that's real Vin Santo since it's NV and so inexpensive.