Week 44 – Vermentino

We tasted: Nord Est Vermentino 2016, Majestic, £9.99

Tasting Notes

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.”

Buying Guide

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

5 thoughts to “Week 44 – Vermentino”

  1. Wine -Reserve Vermentino Grenache, Blanc Demi Sec, Le Grand Duc, nv (Le Bon Vin £7)
    Bottle says – peach, pineapple, white flowers, almonds

    We didn’t get off to a good start with this one. The owner of the shop pointed out that that this wine was the ‘weakest link’ in my purchases that day. Apparently it was an ‘acceptable table wine’ but nothing more. I love honesty in people even if it’s slightly uncomfortable at times; it builds trust.

    The colour was a very haunting pale green.

    On the nose I got a faint ‘fruitiness’; apples, gooseberries, and subtle floral notes with a saline edge. It was very clean and fresh.

    The taste was pretty flat and generic, with not much character. It was pleasant enough, but hard to separate the flavours. It was simple and clean, but with a rather bitter aftertaste.

    I guess you get what you pay for, but you always hope that the ‘reasonably priced’ wine you’ve just bought will be your new favourite. Not this time. I will try to source a better example in the future, as my curiosity has been piqued.

  2. Quite a mouthful this week: Antichi Poderi Jerzu, Lucean Le Stelle Vermentino di Sardegna 2017 (Waitrose, £8.79).

    The wine was pale yellow in the glass and I found the nose quite funky and aromatic. There was lots of grapefruit and lemon, even a touch of lychee. There were saline and herbal notes too (bay leaf as Emma wisely points out!).

    The wine was very dry and crisp with medium body in the mouth. I didn’t find it at all fruity – no apricots for me. The flavour was a general lemony, grapefruity sourness with a touch of brine and some stoney minerality. It wasn’t very complex and had a very bitter finish.

    Overall, this was a bit too sour for me and it literally left a bitter taste in my mouth. I completely agree that it was reminiscent of week 2’s voignier. I generally get along well with most wine, especially Italian wine, but I wasn’t a fan of this.

  3. I live in the Languedoc and a few producers use this either as a varietal (local name for the grape is Rolle) or in a blend. One in particular (Dom. Cantaussel, Minervois) produces the finest Vermentino I have ever tasted. Perfect as an apero on its own or with food. Another (Dom. de la Grange, St-Chinian Berlou) produces a delicious blend of Viognier and Vermentino. The grape is capable of making a nervy, zestly style of wine or a fatter, rounder style depending on location (it prefers coastal) and winemaker.

  4. Friends & I tried Languedoc 2017 . It had slight taste of herbs & gooseberries. It would be an acceptable wine to have with a fish pie or chicken dish , We would not choose to drink it on its own .

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