Vermentino is widely grown throughout Italy, in particular in Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia, and is also found in southern France and Corsica. Indeed, it is thanks to Vermentino that Sardinia has its only DOCG appellation, in the form of Vermentino di Gallura. This late-ripening grape is much loved by winemakers for its good levels of resistance against drought and disease, and so it comes as no surprise that Vermentino has more recently become popular among growers further afield, in Australia, California and Texas for example. It also grows well in a relatively wide range of soils, including limestone and volcanic, but is most at home by the sea, in scrubland, from whence it gleans its characteristic herbaceousness and minerality. Versatile and easy on the wallet, thanks to the fact that a lot of this wine is in fact produced by local cooperatives, Vermentino is also a firm favourite among sommeliers, who tend to find it quickly gains a following among those they introduce it to.
What are the characteristics of Vermentino wine? Often marketed as appealing to lovers of Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Soave and Verdejo, Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine, yet possesses a complexity which will keep you coming back for more. On the nose, we might typically be greeted by notes of rosemary and thyme, alongside zesty citrus and pear. On the palate, we encounter its stony, saline nature, perhaps with a bit of grapefruit, apple and almond. The finish is often described as ‘green’, or slightly zingy: Vermentino has a high phenolic content, lending the aftertaste of this wine a certain characteristic bitterness. Of course, the final expression of any wine variety depends greatly on its terroir, and Vermentino is no exception. Whereas Vermentino from Liguria often has a fresh and elegant style, Tuscan versions tend to be riper, and more on the floral side, whilst Sardinian Vermentino is unrivalled in its salinity and structure, producing fuller-bodied wines. Why not try Costa Toscana Vermentino IGT 2020 from Tenuta le Colonne? Produced from grapes grown just 40 metres above sea level on predominantly sandy terrain, this wine exemplifies Vermentino’s appeal to the full, with its fruity nose, and citrus and herby flavours.
Within the Sardinian Vermentino di Gallura DOCG on the other hand, we can find a ‘Superiore’ version, suitable for keeping over several years; a ‘Vendemmia Tardiva’, offering the greater depth and more concentrated flavours to be expected of late harvesting; a ‘Passito’ dessert wine made from dried Vermentino grapes; and, last but certainly not least, a delectable Vermentino sparkling wine. To discover this special DOCG for yourself, try Sella & Mosca’s Vermentino di Gallura Superiore – made from 100% Vermentino grapes.
Which foods are best enjoyed with Vermentino? Vermentino is an immensely versatile wine, just as at home accompanying your casual after-work aperitifs as it is on a more formal dinner table. Its dream pairing is with the fruits of the sea: think seafood risotto, grilled squid or barbecued octopus for example. However, its herbaceous nature also makes it a good match for slightly richer dishes that make good use of herbs and spices. It loves most vegetarian cuisine but would also work well with a pork and fennel sausage, or chicken with Provençal herbs.
We’re certain you’re going to love this delicious Italian white wine – why not pick up a few extra bottles and introduce some friends to it too?