Taste: Very refreshing with aromas of citrus fruits, herbs, bay leaf, almonds and floral notes, followed by flavors of lemon, lime, green apple, pear, melon and even tropical fruits, as well as a distinct mineral edge.
Body: Light to medium, but can also be full.
Dry / Sweet: Dry
Acidity: Medium to high
Age: Drink while young and fresh.
Aka: Also known as Rolle in France and Malvoisie in Corsica. Pigato in Liguria and Favorita in Piedmont are often said to be alternate names for Vermentino, but they are actually different grape varieties.
Vermentino (ver-meh-TEE-noh) is a less well-known Mediterranean grape variety, which is attracting increased attention. Opinion differs as to whether it originated in Spain, Corsica, Sardinia or the west coast of Italy. The current view maintains that it is probably indigenous to northwest Italy.
Today it is primarily grown in Corsica, Sardinia and along the French and Italian Mediterranean coastal fringes of Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, Liguria and Tuscany. In recent decades it has also been planted in the USA and Australia with good results.
Vermentino is a grape suitable to a hot, dry maritime climate and can benefit from marine winds, which help concentrate its flavors. A key characteristic is a firm acidic backbone, which makes it very refreshing and ideal for summer drinking. Depending on where it is grown, when harvested and how the wine is made it can be light, gentle and refreshing, or more complex and full bodied, whilst still retaining its essential crisp appeal.
However, as Vermentino is very easy to grow there is a need to be cautious when purchasing as many growers over produce and the resulting mass-market wine is characterless – very dilute and / or acidic with little fruit flavor. Best to select wine from a recognized producer or well made single vineyard wines that will display the true varietal character of the grape.
Aromas of citrus fruits, herbs, bay leaf, almonds and floral notes are followed by flavors of lemon, lime, green apple, pear, melon and even tropical fruits, as well as a distinct mineral edge which gives an extra dimension to the wine. While flavor profiles can vary considerably, there should always be refreshing acidity at the core of the wine.
Most Vermentinos are fermented in steel although oak can be used, as long as contact is light, but generally unoaked versions are better. While sometimes blended with other grapes, such as Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), Vermentino is at its best when made as a varietal wine.
Vermentino is a very food friendly wine and should be drunk while it’s young and fresh.
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