Vermentino is an aromatic grape, capable of producing high-quality, crisp white wines near the coastal regions of northern Italy, southern France, and on the islands of Corsica and Sardegna.
The grape goes by many synonyms: Favorita in Piedmont, Malvasia, Malvoisie de Corse and Vermentinu in Corsica, Pigato in Luguria, Rolle in the Alpes and southern France.
The origin is said to be traced back to the thirteenth century when it was introduced to the French island of Corsica via Piedmont where it was called fermentino. The name Vermentino may be derived from fermento, meaning "ferment". Likely referring to the fizzy, carbonic character often displays when young.
Vermentino is widely grown in a warm, sunny, Mediterranean climate. The majority is planted in France, devided equally amongst Provence, Sardegna and the Hérault. It is a major player in the white wines of Corsica.
Italy is the second largest producer. Highlights include the wines from Colli di Luna on the Liguria/Toscana border and the DOCG of Vermentino di Gallura on the island of Sardegna.
The wines are generally crisp with aromas of citrus and flowers. Mouth-watering acidity makes them ideal for pairing with a variety of dishes, from seafood to charcuterie and pastas.
These are a few of our selections:
Castello ColleMassari, Vermentino Melacce (2012)
Region Tuscany, Italy
Brother and sister, Claudio Tipa and Maria Iris, who have always shared a passion for nature and great wines fulfilled their dream creating a “Domaine” in Tuscany. The ColleMassari Domaine today is comprised of three estates: Castello Colle Massari, Grattamacco and Poggio di Sotto. The Castello Colle Massari is situated in the Montecucco DOC, nestled between the DOCG area of Brunello di Montalcino and DOCG Morellino di Scansano, in the foothills of Mount Amiata. The estate is ICEA certified organic. Additionally, the vertical structure of the 4 level gravity-fed cellar is crafted according to the principles of bio-architecture, allowing the grapes and must to be moved without the use of pumps.
Domaine Comte Abbatucci, ajaccio blanc "Faustine"
Region Corsica, France
Appellation Vin de Corse
In the colorful, picturesque city of Ajaccio, capital of Corsica, you can’t get very far without seeing the name Abbatucci.
There are streets, monuments and plazas that carry the name, which is normal given that General Jean-Charles Abbatucci from Ajaccio was a hero of the French Revolution and comrade in arms of another local hero, Napoléon Bonaparte. Step into a wine bar or a restaurant there, chances are these days they’ll pour you a glass of Domaine Abbatucci. The domaine is run by Jean-Charles Abbatucci, a direct descendant of the General, who has now become a local hero of another kind—for providing the local populace with its most sought-after libation.
Corsicans are proud defenders of their traditions and environment, and with Abbatucci they indulge guilt-free. His wines are certified biodynamic, and he believes in following even the most far-out biodynamic practices to the letter. On his large estate south of Ajaccio he keeps a pristine poly-culture ecosystem in place, complete with herds of sheep foraging through his vines, groves of olive trees on ancient terraces, and large swaths of untouched forests. His vines come from cuttings of indigenous grapes, sourced decades ago high up in the isolated and mountainous interior of the island from elderly peasant farmers, effectively saving several native varieties from extinction. To keep his vines happy, he’s known to drive his tractor out to his vineyards and play traditional Corsican polyphonic songs over loudspeakers for their benefit. After the harvest he’ll treat his cellar to the same music as his grapes ferment and come of age. All part of the terroir, he says. Does all this have an actual effect on the wine? Have a taste for yourself. The proof just might be in the pudding.
Giacomelli, Colli di Luni Pianacce Vermentino (2014)
Region Liguria, Italy
Appellation Colli di Luni
The estate was established in 1993 when Roberto Petacchi started managing the vineyards of his grandfather Pietro Giacomelli. The vineyards stand within the area of Castelnuovo Magra, the southern zone of Liguria, in the heart of the Colli di Luni appellation. The combination of the mild climate, due to the Tyrrenian sea, and of the soil rich in minerals, results in wines with a distinctive and special character, the ones made with Vermentino grapes in particular. These wines are made from different vineyards and with different blends, but all of them reflect the passion of Roberto Petacchi for this unique terroir.
Château La Roque, Languedoc Blanc Clos des Bénédictins (2010)
Region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Grapes Rolle, Marsanne
Appellation Coteaux du Languedoc
The picturesque landscape surrounding the historic Château La Roque appears largely unchanged from how it must have been two thousand years ago. Ownership has changed hands many times since the Romans were first here, yet the soul of this special place remains in tact. Romans were said to have planted the first vines, and Benedictine Monks created the sturdy vaulted-ceiling cellars that still house the bottles today. Winegrowing resumed in the thirteenth century when the de la Roque brothers planted new vines. By the 15th century, another branch of the de la Roque family added glass blowing to the farm’s production. Today, Château La Roque is in the capable hands of Jacques Figuette, who has continued to convert to organic and now biodynamic viticulture, as planned by the previous owner and Languedoc legend, Jack Boutin. Jacques is guided by the talented Cyriaque Rozier, who makes the wine both here and at Château Fontanès. Though the property has responded to circumstance, its destiny seems irrevocably intertwined with its vines.
Thirty-two of the Château’s eighty hectares are consecrated to terraced vineyard land with south-southeast sun exposure, on clay and limestone soils. This is unique terroir. Garrigue, the aromatic scrub brush that dominates the landscapes of the South, asserts its presence among these vines. Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the noble varietals that Jack Boutin planted here years ago, make up the reds. The whites include Viognier, Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Roussane and Marsanne. In the wise words of KLWM salesperson and legend, Michael Butler, “Lay down a few cases of history.”
Château Fontanès, VDP Blanc (2013)
Region Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Grapes Chenin Blanc, Rolle, Clairette
Appellation Vin de Pays d'Oc
Vin de Pays d’Oc Blanc “Les Traverses de Fontanès” :
• Grapes are pressed after a short skin maceration
• Fermented in stainless steel
• Wine is aged for 6 to 8 months in foudre
40% Rolle, 40% Chenin Blanc, 20% Clairette
Dupéré-Barrera, Nowat Blanc (2010)
Region Provence, France
Grapes Rolle, Sémillon, Ugni Blanc
Appellation Côtes de Provence
Unlike so many of our producers who were born into the trade, Emmanuelle Dupéré and Laurent Barrera did not start their careers in wine. Emmanuelle was, and still is, a professional singer, and Laurent a geological engineer on the island of Réunion, near Madagascar. In 1998, Laurent decided to change direction and enrolled in viticultural school in the Var. Emmanuelle already had a degree in Wine Commerce, but went back to school to learn the production side of the business. Their studies brought them together with great winemakers from various regions of France, and as they learned from these experienced producers, they gained a deep respect for the unadulterated expression of the fruit so prevalent in naturally-made wines.
There is nothing average about this husband-and-wife team of enologists: they consider every detail with both brainy enthusiasm and heart. These eco-conscious artisans could never be accused of not walking their talk, either. They adhere to organic methods in the vineyards and are now also incorporating biodynamic practices, adding even stricter discipline to their intense workload. Their winemaking process allows the natural character of the wine to speak for itself, with minute doses of sulfur, no fining or filtration, and bottling during optimal weather conditions when the atmospheric pressure is just right. With one cuvée of Côtes de Provence, they take it to the next level: everything is done by hand with absolutely no machinery – earning the name Nowat (no watt=no electricity). Consider their “Cuvée Très Longue Macération” for some très long aging, too. The Dupéré Barrera team captures the essence of their region beautifully: rich, sun-kissed fruit, savory herbes de Provence, and long, lingering finishes. Travel to sunny Provence with the pop of a cork.