This month, Susannah from Avvinare and Vignetocomm keeps spring in focus, choosing the white grape Vermentino as the May theme for our Italian Food Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT). We explore areas in Italy where the grape grows- Sardinia, Liguria, and Tuscany- and share the details with you via blog articles and social platforms. You can read more about our May topic in her invitation post here.
The first Saturday of each month, we meet on Twitter at 11 am ET / 5 pm in Italy to share what we’ve learned, food that was involved, and anything that popped up along the was. We’d love you to join our Twitter chat on May 5th! Just remember to append #ItalianFWT to each of your tweets so we can engage with you. Scroll to the end of this post for a preview what each participant has to say about Vermentino.
Vermentino entered my life years ago when wine guru Darrell Corti of Corti Bros handed me a bottle of Uvaggio Vermentino. He shared a new winery was making a nice wine from an Italian grape. It was barely $10 and it was good. It’s now grown in several appellations in California, Oregon (try Troon Vineyard), Austrailia and probably other places too.
This month however, focusing on Italian in Italy, I headed to Sardinia to find Vermentino where it’s the dominant white grape. It has many synonyms depending where you are in the world. Interested? Scroll to the bottom for a partial list!
I located an example of Vermentino grown on the distinct soil of Mount Limbara, Sardinia’s highest mountain. The granitic soil at its base reflects light, helping the grapes reach ultimate ripeness. This is beneficial for the thin-skinned, late ripening, and drought-disease resistant Vermentino. It doesn’t need help warding off disease, the drying wind does that automatically. And one would think things ripen sufficiently in the warm Mediterranean climate, but the Gallura in the north-eastern corner (brown area) is windy and somewhat cooler. In fact several sources indicated Gallura Vermentino tends to have a certain zingy salinity from the ocean breeze and cooler meso-climate.
Let’s take a look at the Sardinian Vermentino I tasted and the spring meal pairing.
Canayli Vermentino di Gallura Superiore 13% abv | 9.50€ / $15-18
Vermentino di Gallura is Sardinia’s only DOCG appellation located in the northern part of the island. This wine is made by the quality driven Cooperative Cantina Gallura, founded in 1956 with currently 160 grower members.
Canayli has medium intensity aromas of white blossoms with nuances of citrus (lime) and fresh green pepper corns squeezed between your fingertips. The palate is dry, citrusy, and mineral driven. A bright and slightly bitter (think lime pith) finish linger. It’s balanced and softly structured with a stone fruit elegance about it.
- Soil: granite, sandy, nutrient poor, water stressed.
- Vinification: Grapes are harvested slightly over-ripe, fermented in stainless steel tanks then sit a few months before bottling.
On the food end of things, we started with asparagus. White asparagus is in season and very popular in Bordeaux now. I steamed these 5 thick pieces (one broke) then dressed them with a sautéed onion, preserved lemon, and cherry tomato salsa draped over the top. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of white asparagus and perhaps that came out with this dish. The olive oil based salsa gave them a rich lift but it wasn’t a great partner with the wine.
Green Asparagus and English Pea Risotto was our main plate. The asparagus tips were splashed with balsamic vinegar giving the dish extra zip. Asparagus can be difficult to pair with wines but given the richness of the dish from EVOO and Parmegiano Reggiano, and brightness from the peas and vinegar, it worked, the flavors brought out the best in each other.
At this price, the wine is a winner! Canayli Vermentino di Gallura Superiore can be found in the US.
Check out the other Italian Food, Wine and Travel group articles for May
Gwen from Wine Predator is sharing “You Need To Know Vermentino: Paired with Carbonara #ItalianFWT”
Lauren from The Swirling Dervish explores “Vegetarian Plates and Pigato from A.A. Durin: Perfect for Your Summer Table”
Jill from L’Occasion chooses “Vermentino from Maremma, Land of The Butteri Tuscan Cowboys”
Jane from Always Ravenous is penning “Which Vermentino to Pair With Shrimp & Fresh Herb Pilaf?”
Katarina from Grapevine Adventures is dishing on “Vermentino by Antonella Corda – An expression of Sardinia Terroir”
David from Cookingchatfood is giving us “Salmon with Lemon Olive Relish and a Vermentino”
Jennifer from Vino Travels Italy is reflecting on “Vermentino of Toscana with Aia Vecchia”
Nicole from Sommstable is bringing “Piero Mancini Vermentino and Salmon Two Ways”
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam is posting “From Sardegna to the Land Down Under: Vermentino + Pizza alle Vongole”
Wendy from A Day In The Life on The Farm gives us “A Successful Search for Vermentino”.
Susannah at Avvinare, is all about “Vermentino in its Varied Styles from Liguria to Sardegna”
And here at Savor the Harvest I’m tempting you with “One Italian Island White Wine You Must Try”
Take note! Li over at The Winning Hour is our host next month when we delve into Soave.
- Picture of Vermentino grapes courtesy of Paul Balke
- Map of Sardinia: By Mackey [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
- Vermentino Synonyms: Favorita (Piedmont), Furmentin, Malvasia or Malvoisie de Corse, Malvoisie à Gros Grains, Malvoisie du Douro, Pigato (Liguria), Rolle (France), Sapaiola, Verlantin or Varlantin, Verlentin or Varlentin, and Vermentinu (Corsica).
That risotto looks delicious! I wonder why I don’t make it more often? After all, it’s a blank slate – you can make any ingredient the star of the dish, as you did with the asparagus and peas – and the wine possibilities are endless. Thanks for inspiring me to make something creative for dinner tonight!
I made risotto thinking the same thing- don’t make it enough and Mark and I love it! Glad I could inspire you ;-D
It’s nice to know that it pairs well with asparagus. I love asparagus and pairing it is always a dilemma.
Green asparagus is high on my list when in season. I think the richness of the risotto helped too !
The pea risotto looks delicious! And so funny, I mention an Uvaggio wine in my post as well!
Great minds …Uvaggio!
I love (adore) risotto and I think this pairing nails it. I haven’t tried a Vermentino from Sardegna but it’s on my shopping list now!
Mark falls into the “adore” risotto catagory too! Hope you’re able to find a Gallura Vermentino.
Thank you for all the great info about the soils! Fascinating! Yes asparagus can be tough to pair but I can certainly see this dish working with vermentino!
The pairing looks delicious even though you are not fond of white asparagus :-). I am really a fan of Vermentino di Gallura and other Vermentino wines from Sardegna…
Like you, I’m becoming a big fan of Vermentino. Hopefully one day I can make it to Sardegna to discover more.
This is a newer grape for me and I’m enjoying it. Great info about Sardinian Vermentino, I’ll look for some from Canayli. But perhaps easier is the Uvaggio or Troon Vineyards. Great food pics!
Hi Margie and thank you.. It would be great if you were able to find the Canayli, or another Italian Vermentino then compare it with one one made in the States. Good luck!