The Bitter Sting of Loneliness: Vermentino (Wine of the Week)

By: Lauren Voigt

Over the next few months, I’ll be exploring some of the lesser-known grape varieties as part of an “Wine of the week” class assignment for the Wine Professional course I’m currently enrolled in at Saint Paul College.  JOIN ME! And let me know what you think of this variety in the comments below.


Vermentino

Researching Vermentino in the Wine Bible, I was intrigued by the description of wines from Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, having “flavors that mirror the dry, windswept island itself… dry brush, resinous herbs such as rosemary, sage or lavender…”

I set off toe  nearby Thomas Liquors in Saint Paul, MN and found several on the shelves:

– Aragosta Vermentino Di Sardegna, ~$13
– 2015 Villa Solais Vermentino Di Sardegna Santadi (DOC), $17
– 2015 Vigneti Zanatta Vermentino di Gallura Renadoro (DOCG), ~$18

While the Aragosta was a strong contender being refrigerated and having the ability to offer instant gratification when I got home, I picked the Vigneti Zanatta off the shelf, since Vermentino di Gallura was the first DOCG on Sardinia (and hey, it was only a couple bucks more).   DOCG is the highest classification for Italy’s wines, and for only a buck more seemed like a good value.

The Wine.

Medium straw in color, moderate aromas of youthful and fruity flavors, dominated by juicy apple and pineapple. I also picked up a hint of something herbal/green as well I couldn’t put my finger on — grass, maybe?  On the palette, dry and medium bodied with tart acidity.  Flavors of pear, apple, lemon, and a bit of zestiness – white pepper, perhaps.

Overall, more fruit-forward than I expected, and I struggled to find the “flavors that mirror the dry, windswept island itself…” that the Wine Bible touted of Vermentino from this area.

I did also read that Vermentio is grown in France (East Languedoc, Southern Rhone, Provence, Corsica) – but appeared to be used primarily for blending in those areas.  I did scan the French section for its other aliases (macabeo, picadan picpoul, rolle, malvoise…) but did not see any at Thomas.

Food + Wine.

The first glass paired perfectly with fresh pasta tossed with pesto and fat, sweet Argentinian shrimp cooked in fresh garlic and butter.  The second glass exhibited a bitter sting of loneliness  —  I found it too tart to be enjoyable on its own.

Saluti!


Have you tried Vermentino? What did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, below!

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