We tasted: Nord Est Vermentino 2016, Majestic, £9.99
Emma says: “I was feeling a little off last night so apologies if this note is short. Maybe you’ll have to trust Andy’s note as the true evaluation of our grape this week.
It was a shame since I’m a big fan of Vermentino and was especially pleased when we found on of my favourite producers at the local Majestic.
For my brief taste of the Vermentino I was reminded exactly why this is one of my favourite lesser known whites. The aroma was bright and glistening with delicate herbal notes sitting alongside grapefruit and a touch of kumquat, plus this burst of sea salt that I always find with the Sardinian versions of this wine. To taste that saline quality was really at the fore, then the fruit started to come through as peaches and melon with some really attractive herbal dimensions like bay leaf, fennel and a touch of aniseed which is a typical character of this style. There was a little weight and texture which can often happen with Vermentino but it was nicely balanced by fresh acidity. Altogether this is a wine I’d like to stock up with as a weekday white; once I feel better of course.
And to note I think that the Sardinian versions particularly fit this description from my previous experience. Andy thought that the wine tasted slightly like Viognier and he is right. It has the same problem as that grape that it can become weighty and overly tropical in fruit if grown in warm climates. I sometimes find that in versions coming from Tuscany or the Languedoc in France. The island breezes in Sardinia allow the grape to ripen to just the right point and therefore deliver for me the most elegant styles.”
Andy says: “Possibly the first time I’ve understood what Emma means when she describes something as herbal.
Unfortunately I can’t really offer a better descriptor or description. If you’ve ever been to Prague, you’ve probably been forced to try Becherovka, and most likely picked up a bottle and abandoned it, unopened, at the back of your drinks cabinet. Well if you can remember that taste, and dilute it to homeopathic levels, that’s kind of it. For me, anyway. Genepi would work too.
Straight out of the fridge, this was crisp and refreshing, with a nice rounded acidity that kept you interested but picked up on the social cues and didn’t hang around and make things awkward. There was an illusion of some residual CO2, but it was probably the prickle of the acid. It was a bit like the Furmint from a few weeks ago, but with life injected.
Taste wise, I have to default to the standard ‘citrussy limes’, but as the glass warmed it became more violet, reminding me of week two’s Viognier, which I was not a fan of, and I liked this less the warmer it got. So, I need to drink faster, as when chilled this was very nice indeed.”
Vermentino is a lovely vibrant grape with a herbal floral aroma and often a rich fruit driven palate. It is most commonly found in the South France, Languedoc or coastal Tuscany. But its best homeland might be Sardinia, where the cool coastal breezes add a fresh lift to the wine. We will be seeking out one from there.
Crisp and refreshing, nice acidity, illusion of bubble, like the furmint but with some more life. Citrussy limes
Went violet-y later on, bit like viognier, less good as it warmed up