The Occhio di Pernice is made from Sangiovese grapes, locally known as Prugnolo Gentile. It undergoes the same process as the Vin Santo, resulting in a wonderful array of liquid caramel, candied berry fruits and plum marmalade.
The winemaking process is fascinating and starts with the grapes being carefully placed in small wooden boxes. They are then laid out on straw mats to dry and only pressed the following spring. The winemaker receives only small amounts of juice, but it is full of extracts and with a very high density (Oechsle). The grape must is then sealed for 10 years in used wooden barrels called Caratelli where it vinifies and matures in them without the barrels ever being opened. The Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo then matures in the bottle for a further six months before release.
The name Occhio di Pernice means “eye of the partridge” in German and is derived from the amber colour of the grapes as they ripen.