Vin Santo, Holy Wine of Tuscany

By Steve Siciliano

One evening Barb and I were the only diners in a small restorante in the Tuscan hill town of Loro Ciuffenna. We had just finished sharing a massive, perfectly cooked T-bone. Before the steak came, there was an antipasti of olives, cured meats and three crispy crostini topped respectively with beans and olive oil, chicken liver pate and paper-thin sheets of cured fatback.

Tuscan T-bone

I was feeling a bit guilty about downing crostini slathered with lardo, but reasoned that the two bottles of red wine we drank with the meal—a Chianti Classico Reserva and a vino nobile di Montepulciano—would help offset the inevitable uptick in bad cholesterol. The restaurant owner walked up to the table. Si, I assured him, the bistecca alla Fiorentina was molto bueno. Si, we would have an after dinner drink. “Due vin santo, per favore.”