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The Vermentino Grape


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About Vermentino

(Synonyms: Favorita, Furmentin, Garbesso, Malvasia de Corse, Malvoisie à Gros Grains, Malvoisie de Corse, Malvoisie du Douro, Pigato, Rolle, Rollé, Var, Vermentino di Gallura, Vermentinu)

Background

Vermentino is a white-wine grape originating in Italy, though where exactly would now be hard to say (the island of Corsica is one candidate). As you can see above, Vermentino goes by many synonyms, but the principal ones (because nontrivial amounts of Vermentino wine are so labelled) are Pigato, Rolle, and Favorita, each long thought to be a distinct grape but now shown by DNA analysis to all be the same thing. There is also some conjecture that Vermentino may be a relative of the large Malvasia family of grape types, while others speak of relations with Hungary’s Furmint. (Some even confidentally assert that the grape came in from Spain, though there is no history or analogue there for these wines.)

Map showing the Liguria region of Italy
Liguria (Pigato)

Map showing the Piedmont region of Italy
The Piedmont (Favorita)

Vermentino is grown today in many parts of Italy; the variety “Pigato” is found mainly in the Liguria region, while as “Favorita” it occurs in the Piedmont region. As “Rolle”, it is grown to some extent in France. It is also now grown in the New World—notably in many states of the U.S. and in Australia.

Of the many locales in which it is grown, it is the isle of Sardinia whose Vermentino wines arguably lead the pack in esteem, most especially wines from the DOCG area Vermentino di Gallura (which includes the Vermentino di Gallura Superiore DOCG).

Map showing Sardinia
Sardinia (Vermentino)

The wines Vermentino makes are noted for aromas and flavors of citrus and tree fruit plus minerality; the wines have a relatively low alcohol content, a medium body, and distinct acidity; some are vinified for crispness, but others can achieve substantial complexity and a sense of richness. It is one of those whites whose nose initially suggests an off-dry wine, but there is typically no residual sugar in Vermentinos. (Though in some regions it is vinified as a specialty sweet wine, Cinque Terre Sciacchetra.) The wines are normally made unoaked.

As eminent wine writer Jancis Robinson puts it, “Body, acid, and perfume are its hallmarks, a good combination.” Vermentino is often said to be a good vehicle for manifesting terroir, that elusive quality—or set of qualities—deriving from the exact spot where it is grown. The wine is not noted for aging potential, and so is best drunk young, perhaps within a year or two after the vintage date.

Factoid: Despite near-universal recommendations to drink Vermentino young, some bottlings can, after a few years, acquire a sort of pine-y or resinous quality that some find atrtractive (though others do not).

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Some Descriptions of Vermentino Wines

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Some Vermentinos to Try

(About this list.)

When shopping for Vermentino or any of its namesakes, be wary of vintage years: not a few retailers who seem to offer remarkable bargain prices are selling three-, four-, even five-year old bottles. That is not A Good Thing. We recommend avoiding bottlings more than two years old; such wines may be perfectly palatable, but the market discounts them heavily, which is suggestive.


Surrau “Branu” Vermentino
(Do not confuse this “Branu” with any of their several other Vermentino bottlings.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Uvaggio Vermentino

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Poggio al Tesoro “Solosole” Vermentino

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Castello Banfi “La Pettegola” Vermentino

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Marchesi Antinori “Guado al Tasso” Vermentino

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We found no Vermentino wine better enough than thosae listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.