If they ask you what the Vermentino is, just answer "the wine that loves the sea" and you've already hit the nail on the head. Because in this white wine with its sunny and overwhelming personality, everything is reminiscent of the Tyrrhenian Sea and its beautiful rocky coasts: the marked savouriness, the freshness, the scents of the Mediterranean maquis and citrus fruits... a marvel. Because of these characteristics, it is impossible not to bring it to the table when the menu includes fish. Or when the evening comes, there is that pleasant breeze, which reminds you of a holiday in Liguria years ago. In such cases, uncorking a Vermentino is a must.
History and origins
The origin of this noble grape variety has long been debated. As with other wines, such as Cannonau, one of the most popular hypotheses is that it comes from Spain. Another line of research has shown a connection with Hungary, where the Vermentino grape is called Furmint. There is no shortage of studies claiming that Vermentino originated in Italy, particularly in Liguria, one of the regions where it is most widely cultivated. To this day, there is no certainty as to where it comes from, but we do agree on one thing: in previous centuries, Vermentino was vinified in different types, including passito. Today, however, there is a tendency to prefer it in its pure or dry versions.
Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia: Vermentino's Bermuda Triangle
If you could draw a line connecting the main Vermentino production areas, the result would be a triangle between three regions facing the Tyrrhenian Sea: Liguria, Tuscany, and Sardinia. It is here that we find the best expressions of this white characterised by a fine texture and freshness, as well as excellent persistence. The distinctive trait is undoubtedly flavour, but there are also significant differences between the different denominations, linked to the characteristics of the soil and the microclimate of each area. For example, in the Tuscan Vermentino, the freshness and minerality emerge more clearly, together with the more citrusy aromas and almond notes, especially on the finish. The Sardinian is generally more full-bodied and aromatic, with scents clearly reminiscent of the Mediterranean maquis and an even more marked salinity. In Liguria, Vermentino is grown practically everywhere and takes on more casual tones: a more fruity and floral bouquet, with the aroma of peach, melon, and white flowers make the sip easier to drink. It usually has a slightly lower alcohol content than the first two.
While Vermentino plays a leading role in these three regions, in others, it is combined with the production of indigenous wines, such as in Sicily.. The Vermentino Terre Siciliane is a fragrant and evocative white, with delicate suggestions of white flowers and tropical fruit. The savouriness is also essential but leaves room for nice aromaticity and more evident herbaceous notes.
Vermentino at the table
Great versatility and maximum yield: if you have a Vermentino, you can play with different combinations, from fish to meat. Its freshness and flavour make it perfect with seafood first and second courses, such as mussel sauté octopus soup or grilled squid. He does not disdain an aperitif with a platter of medium-aged cheeses, nor a more 'light' one based on vegetable finger food. It proves to be a winning choice with risotto, but also holds its own withwhite meats. In short, a real joker to keep in the house at all times, to be served at a temperature of 10°-12° when you feel like being on holiday.