Spring has finally sprung which means it’s time to start exploring some of the wonderful white wines on offer. One of the more underrated whites worth seeking out is light and flavorful Vermentino. Vermentino is a complex white wine that is perfect for rich fish and pork meals. Most Vermentino grapes are grown on the Italian island of Sardinia. France also produces a large amount of Vermentino grapes, while a small amount are also grown in the United States.
Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine with a high amount of acidity and minimal sweetness. This combination of factors results in a wine with a pronounced dryness and strong bitterness. Despite the acidity, the wine is also known for its unusual oily texture.
Vermentino has pronounced flavors of pears, limes, and grapefruit. There are also strong hints of tart Granny Smith apple. It’s also common to detect hints of almonds as well as floral notes of daffodils.
Technically, there are two distinct styles of Vermentino: one is creamy and rich, while the other is light and zesty. The creamy variety is created by adding a bacteria called Oenococcus omni after the fermentation phase. This bacteria breaks down the compounds that give the wine its dry tart notes. As a result, wines that have been treated with Oenococcus are creamy and rich.
The strong bitter notes of Vermentino make it a bit of an unusual wine to pair with certain foods. The wine can easily overpower less flavorful fish and should be reserved for richer seafood like halibut and trout. It also pairs nicely with shellfish like clams, crabs, and lobster. Vermentino is a perfect complement to pork, particularly when it has been seasoned with fennel.
Vermentino is an ideal wine to pair with a wide variety of vegetables. This is one of the few wines that pair well with artichokes and for that reasons alone is worth seeking out. Spinach, beans, arugula, and zucchini all pair very well with this wine.
When it comes to cheese, avoid overly pungent fromage and focus on fresh cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella, and feta.
Wines to try
Cantine Argiolas 'Meri' Vermentino di Sardegna ($15)
Floral with strong citrus notes combine with a crisp acidity in this flavorful wine.
Uvaggio Vermentino ($14)
A perfectly priced Vermentino from California. This complex wine combines sweet and savory notes.
Vigne Surrau Sciala Superiore ($25)
Fruity with a wonderfully creamy finish.