Vin Santo del Chianti
There are various hypotheses concerning the origin of the name Vin Santo (Holy Wine), though none have been proven to be historically accurate: the earliest references to it date back to the beginning of Christianity, when the name was perhaps used to denote a wine particularly suited to Mass; other interpretations attribute the name to the therapeutic effects that Vin Santo apparently had on the unwell, as if the wine were miraculous; another explanation is that the name has Greek origins – i.e. "wine of Xantos", a Greek island on which a similar wine was produced, the name then being transformed into the similar-sounding Santo.
The final explanation refers to the production cycle of Vin Santo, based on the timing of the most important religious festivals in the Christian liturgical calendar. Regardless of the origin of the name, Vin Santo is a wine very much based on tradition, because to this day it is produced in accordance with ancient rules that have changed very little over the years. In Tuscany, Vin Santo is the wine of friendship and hospitality, and is always center-stage when a toast is called for.