Definition - What does Vin Santo mean?
Vin Santo is a traditional sweet dessert wine made in Italy. It is made in many regions. Depending on which one, it is made using different grapes. This "Holy Wine" is made by drying grapes laid out on mats or hung for many months in a process called passito. The sugars and flavors concentrate during this period and the grapes are later pressed and the juices made into a dry or sweet wine.
Vin Santo translates to "Saint Wine" or "Holy Wine" in English.
WineFrog explains Vin Santo
The most notable producers of Vin Santo are in Veneto. There, they use Garganega grapes and in Trentino, they use Nosiola grapes.
The process of making Vin Santo takes many months. After the grapes are dry, the raisins are pressed and the juice is placed into small barrels. Yeasts are not introduced to the juice, but instead, the barrels will sit and wait for a natural fermentation to take place. This fermentation rises and falls and can take up to four years to complete. This long process is why the wine has received its name "Vin Santo" or "holy wine," as many think it is a natural miracle.
The finished wine is always different depending on how the fermentation goes, the grapes used and the producer. Vin Santo can range from 18 to 19% ABV, but others are lower at around 14% ABV. The wines with higher alcohol content will be less sweet than those with a lower ABV.