Italy is a famous country for its history, architecture, and wonders dating back to the Renaissance period. It has been the cradle of historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Julius Cesar, to name a few.
Italy is also the cradle of many red and white wines that have achieved unrivaled fame in the world. An example of this is the Vermentino wine. This white wine, grown mainly on Sardinia’s island, is a wine that exudes unique flavors and aromas from the Sardinian lands. It is one of the Italian wines recognized as DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), which makes it an exclusive and highly prestigious wine.
Today we will talk a little about the Vermentino wine. We will explain a little about its history and its origin, as well as the styles of Vermentino wine, in which regions its viticulture occurs, what are its ideal pairing, and some other interesting tips about this fabulous wine.
History and origins of the Vermentino
The origin of the Vermentino grape is not entirely clear. Many hypotheses affirm that this grape is of Spanish origin. It is said that during the 14th century, this grape was introduced to the island of Corsica. From there, through time, it reached the island of Sardinia. This grape can be found in Liguria, Tuscany, and other areas of Italy.
Even if the name’s origin is investigated, no indication has been found about this vine’s origin. The most accurate research indicates that it derives from vermena, an Italian word that means “young, thin and flexible twig.” Simultaneously, vermena derives from the Latin verbena, which means “herbs and twigs of evergreen plants.”
After being transferred to various towns and areas for its cultivation and subsequent wine production, this vine found on the island of Sardinia is the ideal habitat for its development.
What is Vermentino wine?
Vermentino wine is the wine produced from the grape with the same name. It is an aromatic wine, with light yellow color with greenish reflections. It is a wine that enters smoothly on the palate, with a bitter and citrus aftertaste. These characteristics make it a highly refined wine.
Its grapes are late-ripening and do best in a warm climate. Its cultivation occurs exclusively in regions that have good exposure to the sun. If this wine is grown in cold or temperate climates, its grapes will not ripen properly.
This wine is a perfect choice to mix with other grape varieties such as Ugni Blanc, Cinsault, and Garnache.
In which regions is Vermentino grown?
The cultures of this strain of wine can be found in the regions of Europe that border the Mediterranean Sea. For example: in Provence, we can see this vine’s plantings, specifically in Côtes de Provence and Bellet. In Corse Calvi (Corsica) there are vineyards of this vine, as well as in the Languedoc regions (Côtes du Rousillon and Costieres de Nimes) and on the Rhone (Côtes du Luberon).
How many styles of Vermentino wine are there?
Grapes of Vermentino can be processed in different ways creating a series of wines that are differentiated by their sensory characteristics, among which are:
- Vermentino di Gallura Superiore
- Vermentino di Gallura Sparkling
- Late Harvest Vermentino di Gallura.
- Vermentino di Gallura Passito
- Vermentino di Gallura sparkling wine.
If we go into the essential details, we will notice that there are two different styles of wine. One is richer and creamier, while the other is lighter and more floral.
This difference is due to the process by which the wine is subjected after alcoholic fermentation. In this instance, the winemaker may choose to inoculate the tank with a bacterium called Oenococcus oeni, which produces a reaction that converts the malic acid present in the fruit pulp into lactic acid. This lactic acid gives creamy flavors like butter and milk to the wine, which come from diacetyl, a by-product of the reaction. This process is known as malolactic fermentation, and it is well known and familiar in wine production.
An example of a creamy wine is the Vermentino di Gallura Superiore, whose creamy notes are very peculiar and characteristic. On the other hand, among the lighter and more floral wines, the Sparkling Vermentino di Gallura, the Vermentino di Gallura Passito and the Vermentino di Gallura Cosecha Tardía stand out.
This wine stands out for being light-bodied, with complex flavors when tasted on the palate. It is a dry wine with slightly oily fruit and citrus flavors, with hints of crushed minerals and salinity. The finish can be somewhat spicy, with a bitter touch similar to a grapefruit’s pith. The more mature Vermentino produces a finish with notes of fresh almonds. Its bitter sensations, such as almonds in its final part, are thanks to its high phenol levels.
On the nose, this wine emits aromas of ripe pear, peach, lime, spices, and pink fruits, with notes of crushed rocks and zest of citrus fruits.
Vermentino wine pairing
Thanks to its creamy, salty character and phenolic bitterness, Vermentino is an excellent wine to pair with medium-weight dishes with herbs and spices. This wine combines with fish such as Atlantic halibut, salmon, crab cakes, grilled octopus, and prawns with herbs and spices due to its vibrant flavor.
You can even accompany it with more daring meats such as pork sausages, spaghetti with freshly made clams, roasted quail on carrot puree, or parsnip.
When pairing the Vermentino with some other food, it is necessary to consider a dish’s acidity. Vermentino wine does not have enough acidity to combine with sour dishes such as pickles. However, the combination of the chicken fajitas with a drizzle of lemon is an excellent dish.
This wine is also ideal to accompany garlic dishes, such as pesto pasta.
The Vermentino di Gallura Passito is a variety of this wine that is very little known, but its flavor is unmatched. This wine combines very well with traditional Gallura desserts such as amaretti, formaggelle, papassini, among others.
Facts about the Vermentino wine
- Half of the world production of Vermentino wine is produced in Sardinia
- Its plant is from warm climates and tends to produce better wines in less fertile soils or high altitude soils.
- This wine is used in the Provence region to make Rosé wine. There the Vermentino is known as “Rolle.”
- The highest quality Vermentino wine is produced in the Northeast area of the island of Sardinia, where this wine is called Vermentino di Gallura. This wine requires that 95% of its composition be Vermentino grape. Likewise, the Vermentino di Gallura Superiore presents more significant restrictions regarding the minimum quality of the wine produced.
Suggestions for consumption
This wine is ideal to be consumed young without spending a maximum of two years after the harvest. The perfect temperature to serve this wine is between 50°F and 53,6°F (between 10 ° C and 12 ° C).