Nice to Meet You, Vermentino

by Stephanie Davis

Weddings are remembered more for the celebratory occasion of joining two people beginning their journey on the road of life together; they are recollected less for the wines poured after tying the knot. But one Italian white grape, Vermentino, stands out at weddings, dinner parties, and casual afternoons. It is for that reason the exceptional wine sipped at our wedding reception at Ristorante Belforte in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy was so memorable. I’ve enthusiastically noted, probably dozens of times, “This is my wedding wine. It’s a Vermentino, and you’ll love it!” I emphasize my point by bringing that exact bottle of wine, albeit a different vintage, to dinner parties. It surprises people.

What Sort of Wine is Vermentino?

Vermentino is an aromatic, Italian white grape variety that deserves more attention and more shelf space. It is primarily found in the coastal region of Liguria, on the island of Sardegna, and scattered throughout Tuscany. France grows generous quantities of Vermentino grapes on the beautiful island of Corsica. It is also planted in sunny Provence, where the grape goes by the local name Rolle. Outside of Europe, California winemakers experiment with the grape. It thrives in Paso Robles, Lodi and Temecula.


What to Expect From the Wine

In the glass, Vermentino wines are a pale straw color, light in body, dry, and lively with acidity. The wine is usually fermented in stainless steel tanks, unoaked and intended to enjoy young. Expect citrus and tropical fruit flavors and subtle herbal notes. As a general rule, Vermentino wines are affordable and refreshing. They are versatile white wines that have character and instant appeal. Sometimes you can find Vermentino as part of a blend in white and rosé wines.


Vermentino Producers To Look For

Two of my favorite producers are Cantine Lunae, the one I affectionately call my “wedding wine” from Liguria’s appellation Colli di Luni, and Peltier Winery in Lodi, California. Ask for these wines, or an alternative producer, at your local wine shop or liquor store. There’s a world of fantastic Italian white wine varieties to discover.

For more home entertaining ideas, check out these beautiful and colorful fish recipes and wine inspirations.

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