One of the benefits of being in the restaurant business, especially as a beverage director, is the ability to taste wine often, and a lot of it. The job gets better when you discover a grape you’ve not had before.
Enter Vermentino – which I became familiar with about four years ago. The vast majority of this grape varietal is grown on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. By way of comparison, this thin-skinned white grape reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc with its zesty pucker and green apple flavors. It also offers some floral qualities and a tiny hint of bitterness redolent of crushed almonds. On the French island of Corsica there are also some examples that skirt the fence of smoky, flinty flavors, crushed rocks and some serious tension redolent of rich and creamy Chardonnay – look for Abbatucci’s expression imported by Kermit Lynch.
I’ve written about Rob Hammelman’s Sand-Reckoner’s Vermentino in the past. Now we have the folks at Chateau Tumbleweed making Vermentino from the Dos Padres hillside vineyard owned by Eric Glomski in Page Springs.
“I get this great complexity, great acidity and robust yields from the Dos Padres site,” Kris Pothier from Chateau Tumbleweed tells me. “I was drawn to Vermentino because of its deep mineral notes and honest expression of the varietal” adds CT winemaker Joe Bechard. My advice: Get a bottle and initiate your friends. Make fish tacos (go to Chula Seafood or Nelson’s Meat + Fish for amazing fresh seafood), sprinkle with lime and rock the pairing, Arizona-style.
2017 Chateau Tumbleweed