Tue, 09 December 2014
As the weather begins to warm, a natural restlessness can tend to kick in. So, what better time to shake up your wine selection with something a little new? With something fresh and perhaps a touch unusual? We think it’s a perfect time for us to showcase one of the newer white grapes being cultivated in Australia – Vermentino. A Mediterranean grape of medieval heritage, Vermentino is a wine of delicious, citrusy crispness with awe-inspiring food-matching capabilities.
It’s interesting that we think of Vermentino as ‘new’ in terms of Australian winegrowing experience, yet it is certainly ‘old’ in the grand scheme of world winemaking. Like most wines, there is a bit of an historical tussle about the exact provenance of Vermentino grapes. In all likelihood, cuttings of the Vermentino vine first went from Spain to Italy in the 1300s. Medieval sailors took this precious botanical cargo to the Ligurian Coast, via the rocky island of Sardinia. With only 11km between Sardinia and the French isle of Corsica, it was inevitable that this promising white vine also made its way up into Corsica and through the greater French wine regions.
With all of this sea travel, it is perhaps not surprising that Vermentino goes by many names in Europe, such as Rolle and Favorita. But it was the Italians – led by the Liguria and Sardinia regions – who embraced and developed Vermentino to its magnificent best. Winemakers there became excited and encouraged by the striking golden wine that began to emerge from this hardy white varietal. Importantly, Vermentino handled heat like a champion, maintaining acidic balance and flavour integrity in the warmest of Mediterranean seasons. With a tang of citrus plus a fresh maritime minerality, Vermentino became a perfect companion for those long al fresco evenings of Italian seafood and antipasto under the stars.
Old and new
Now Australia, like many other nations, took a little longer than Italy to discover the promise of Vermentino. The first vines began to be planted here in the 1990s, as Australian vintners recognised the hardiness and heat-handling capabilities of this aromatic white. It is a testament to the character and quality of this grape that even in this short time, Vermentino has been moving from an obscure ‘alternative’ varietal to one that is becoming a go-to summer drop for discerning Australian consumers. With parts of our climate emulating the warm and breezy Mediterranean regions, Vermentino has once more travelled across the seas to find a new land in which to shine. And at Taylors Wines, one of our greatest joys is sourcing fine Australian grape varietals – old and new – and working to create premium wines of quality and integrity.
Lovely summer drop
Our winemakers have taken the ‘old’ aspects of Vermentino’s Mediterranean heritage and combined them with the very best of Australian growing conditions and oenology.
Within our TWP range, we’ve been drawn instinctively to the possibilities for Australian Vermentino grapes to deliver extraordinary white wines. Knowing that the SA Riverland region produces champion fruit, we source the best of the Vermentino crops from this region for our TWP maestros to work with.
Now the way that we work here is by respecting the past as well as embracing the best that the modern era of winemaking offers. Analysing the fruit in the field gives us the opportunity to apply classic techniques, such as early morning cool harvest and initial whole berry pressing.
Then, with an eye to the delicate flavours of the Vermentino, appropriate yeast strains are painstakingly selected for the cold fermentation. Throughout vinification, our wine makers utilise state-of-the-art techniques to preserve the fine balance and textural nuances of this fine white.
And sure – they sometimes develop a friendly rivalry as they work tirelessly towards revelation of Vermentino’s many virtues… but that’s okay! As we find across the TWP range, our keen winemakers are passionate in their pursuit of an excellent drop, hewn from an unbeatable combination of heritage, technology and beautiful fruit.
An Italian pairing
Vermentino creates a wondrous match with a wide selection of foods. Interestingly, a complex mid palate and that fine acidic tone both work together to facilitate perfect pairing – not only with light summer food, but also with some more full-flavoured morsels. So feel free to team your Vermentino with a spicy laksa, chorizo tapas or well-herbed barramundi. In fact, across the board of seafood cuisine, Vermentino is a loving partner to your entire summer catch of crustaceans, mackerel, calamari and oysters. And of course that hearty Italian platter of antipasto, replete with marinated artichoke hearts, semidried tomatoes, sardines, and chilli olives, absolutely begs for accompaniment with a crisp and lime-tinged Vermentino. Before you know it, you’ll think you’re sipping away on a pristine Sardinian headland, watching the aqua Mediterranean roll gently by… sigh…
It’s safe to say that we continue to be excited and delighted about the quality of our Australian Vermentino. This is a wine that brings to mind freshness, new beginnings and breezy summer enjoyment. With a clarity and structure that sees Vermentino’s fine acidity hold across even the most challenging season, this is a white to be enjoyed in the prime of its younger years. Buon Apetito!