Showing posts with label Vermentino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vermentino. Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2024

From an island paradise comes this divine Vermentino

From an island paradise comes this divine Vermentino

Domaine Vico Le Bois Du Cerf Vermentinu (AC) 2022, 13% ABV

RRP €28.95. Stockists: The Cinnamon Cottage / JJ O’Driscoll Superstore Ballinlough / Sweeney's D3 / Jus de Vine / Clontarf Wines / Alain and Christine Wine and Card Shop / Grapevine /Blackrock Cellar

The grapes for this 100% Vermentino are sourced from 45-year-old vines, which sit on blue schist soils at 300 metres altitude. Unlike most Corsican producers, Domaine Vico’s vineyards are situated away from the coast in mountain foothills.

Vermentino is mainly associated with Sardinia, where over half of the production occurs. However, it is also commonly grown in Corsica, where it is known as Vermentinu, and where several superb examples are produced, including this one.

It has a straw-yellow colour. Citrus and floral, the engaging aromas also have a hint of honey. It is complex and absolutely gorgeous on the palate, the aromas staying on strongly as the refreshing fruit (fresh citrus and orchard fruit) and herbaceous flavours spread across before a fruity and refreshing finish.  

Very Highly Recommended

Harvested by hand, the grapes are gently crushed before undergoing several hours of skin contact to maximise flavour extraction. The must is then fermented with indigenous yeasts in neutral, temperature-controlled tanks to preserve the fresh fruit character. Matured on fine lees for six months in concrete tanks for additional texture.

The label illustration is eye-catching. You may see the full drawing on their Instagram here. The vineyard of this Cuvée is located on the extreme north of the island and they are really near a forest where they sometimes meet the “wonderful deer from Corsica. In central Corsica the reintroduction of deer is a success, .. one is regularly seen in a wood adjacent to the estate... and as we love  @leslie_orsatti drawings ... We asked him to draw this for us…”

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Two Highly Recommended Wines for you, a Barbera from Italy and a Vermentino from Languedoc-Roussillon.

Two Highly Recommended Wines for you, a Barbera from Italy and a Vermentino from Languedoc-Roussillon.


Valle Unite Montale Barbera Colli Tortonesi (DO) 2013, 14% 

RRP & stockists: €23.95, Le Caveau Kilkenny, 64 Wine, Greenman Wines, Bradleys Cork

While Nebbiolo may be the star (think Barolo!),  Barbera  is the popular everyday red wine grape in Piedmont; those wines from Asti and Alba are probably the best-known of the varietal. With high acidity and alcohol, low tannin and sweetness, Barbera is approachable and affordable. This particular Barbera has the advantage of being organic. 

Colour is a mid ruby, somewhat lighter around the edge. This may be of the 2013 vintage but the nose is fresh and complex, its ripe cherries hinting at youth rather than age. And that complexity is striking on the palate as is the typical acidity. Smooth and well balanced right to the end, some grip still there though as it lingers long. Dry in the end and very satisfactory indeed.

Pasta, veal, pork, and game are the regularly suggested pairings. Wine Folly say roasted and vegetable-driven dishes while Wine-Searcher goes for Seared rabbit livers, Thai duck noodle soup, and Roasted, herb-crusted lamb rack. I think the lamb would be my first port of call!

They also produce an excellent white. Recent review here.

Highly Recommended.


Click here for growing list of top wines for 2023


Domaine Bassac Le Vermentino du Grand Mur Nos Parcelles Côtes de Thongue 2021, 14% ABV 

A wine new to Mary Pawle list, expect to pay €20 to 21. Contact: Mary Pawle Wines 

Vermentino is mostly a grape of the Mediterranean coast, grown mostly in Italy (all over the country but most notably in Sardinia and Tuscany) and France (widely in the Languedoc-Roussillon and also in Provence). Expect citrus (lemon, lime), apples and a lively acidity. Best drunk when young.

Our wine here, part of which has been barrel fermented, comes from Languedoc-Roussillon, from the Côtes de Thongue. The vineyard is situated at Puisalicon, a small medieval village in the heart of the Languedoc not too far from Beziers, a town that rugby fans will be familiar with. Domaine Bassac is a family estate of several generations standing and much of its wine is exported. Pioneers in organic farming, current operators François Delhon (family member) and Jean-Philippe Léca have been doing it organically since 1987.

The colour is quite a light straw, shimmering bright in the glass. Light fruity and herbal notes in the aromatics. Good firm fruit flavours follow, citrus mostly with hints of tropical, and also the expected (but certainly not over the top) acidity that ensures balance.


This dry and fruity wine should pair well with pasta, vegetarian dishes, poultry, lean fish, and also as an aperitif. 

Highly Recommended


Click here for Good Value Wine List 2023


Monday, January 6, 2020

Not the usual suspects: Vermentino and Verdejo

Not the usual suspects: Vermentino and Verdejo

When most of us think of white wine, the Vermentino and Verdejo grapes, don't immediately spring to mind. But they are, now, favourites of mine and the two below are excellent examples. Vermentino is from Italy, one of its most distinctive grapes and thrives in coastal areas such as Sardinia's rocky Gallura region. By the way, there is a very rare red Vermentino.

Verdejo is best known through the delicious wines that come from Rueda in Spain though our example below is from neighbouring Castilla (a region where suggests it is indigenous). "Wherever the variety's origins, Rueda is its undisputed home now; the variety is extremely successful there, and is grown almost nowhere else in Europe."

Cantina Mesa, `Giunco` Vermentino di Sardegna (DOC) 2018, 13.5%, €24.99.
Baggot Street Wines
Cinnamon Cottage

Light gold is the colour, light and bright. Quite intense aromas of exotic fruit, scents of blossom too. A terrific and immediately noticeable balance of fruit and acidity on the palate, crisp and delicious right through to a lip-smacking finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This is 100% Vermentino. A beautifully balanced white with good body, and scents of tropical fruit backed by floral impressions. Delicious with fish and creamy cheeses. Enjoy in summer 8-10 degrees, winter 12 degrees.

Extended heavy rains in Sardinia in 2018 but,  fortunately, despite this and other challenges, the technical staff at Cantina Mesa were able to grow healthy fruit. After clarification and stabilisation, the wine matured for four months in stainless steel tanks on its lees and for a minimum of one month in bottle before release.

Dominio de Punctum "Finca Fabiana" Verdejo 2018 Castilla (VDT), 12%, €12.20
Mary Pawle Wines

Very light straw colour. Pleasant Fruity aromas, light intensity. On the palate it’s a bit more tingly than its Rueda counterpart, fresh and easy-drinking with green fruit (mainly pear/apple) flavours, floral notes too and a lively acidity. Pretty good finish too. Very pleasing as an aperitif and should be fine too with salads and fish.  A simple dry quaffer that should be well received around the table. Very Highly Recommended.

Domino de Punctum wines are organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly, “following our commitment to the environment and wine lovers around the world.” “We take part of a farming philosophy that is aiming towards the future: we understand how to manage nature to deliver top quality grapes and wines while taking care of the environment, by improving it instead of spoiling it. We aim to achieve this through organic and biodynamic agriculture, making wine that stands out not only for the beauty of its aroma or delicacy on the palate, but for being natural and authentic and free of any chemicals.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Red and White worth noting. From the heart of the Corbieres garrigue.

 A Cathar castle in Villerouge-Termenès about 30 minutes from the chateau.
A summer festival when I visited a few years back but in 1321 the last of the Cathar leaders were burnt alive here.
Château Beauregard Mirouze Campana rouge Corbieres (AC) 2015, 13.5%, €14.85 Bradley’s Cork, Le Caveau
This is a blend of 50% Syrah (some over 40 years old) and 50% Grenache. It is produced in small vineyard parcels, actual clearings in the heart of the Corbieres garrigue (scrub), by organic methods. Add in low yields and you get a “really honest… satisfying red”. The winemakers suggest pairing it with strips of duck breast with ratatouille. 

One advantage of being surrounded by garrigue is that the vines are well away from the sprays of neighbours. On the other hand, wild boar enjoy the cover of the scrub and so the Mirouze family have to use an electric fence to deter them.

Colour is a deep ruby. Something wild, funky they say, about the nose, perhaps it’s the garrigue. Quickly on the palate, fruit, juice and spice emerge in intense and happy combination. Good body too, a tannic backbone and a persistent finish. No shrinking violet this yet it is much more finesse than rustic. A well made and friendly wine and Very Highly Recommended. It is indeed honest and satisfying and, by the way, well priced too.

Château Beauregard Mirouze Campana blanc Corbieres (AC) 2015, 12.5%, €14.85 Bradley’s Cork, Le Caveau

Again, like the red, this is a Bio wine, certified organic. It is produced from the fruit of vines well known in the Mediterranean area, Marsanne (60%), Roussane (20) and Vermentino (20). They hand-harvest; fermentation and ageing takes places in large vats. And the makers have a preference for matching it with Fried shrimp with coriander and other herbs.

It has an inviting golden colour. The aromas also attract, with fruit and floral elements prominent. There are gorgeous peachy and melon flavours on the elegant palate, a fresh and edgy acidity to balance and an excellent finish to boot. Very Highly Recommended.

One of the better-known Languedoc appellations, Corbieres is also one of the most productive. Its vineyards, situated south and west of Narbonne, are best known for its red wines, and there is now an increasing number of good whites. Château Beauregard is less then fifty minutes from Carcassonne, less than half that to Narbonne (and its Roman Road, the Via Domitia).

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SuperValu's Italians. 
On Offer For Next Two Weeks

SuperValu's Italians
On Offer For Next Two Weeks

SuperValu are in the mood to celebrate all things Italian and their wine expert Kevin O’Callaghan is joining in the fun by putting the focus on their range of Specially Sourced Italian Wines which will be on offer for two weeks from Thursday May 11th. 

We’ve enjoyed the five below over the past few days. From the "fashionable" Aglianico to the more traditional appassimento, they are all good (good value too) with the Ammasso just about about shading it  (I might need a re-run!) as our number one of the bunch. 

Tombacco Aglianico dei Beneventano (IGT) 2013, 14%, €10.00 (down from 12.99).

Aglianico, a variety with Greek connections, is prominent in the vineyards of Campania and Basilicata. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry. The Italian vineyards are among the most diverse in the world and hundreds of varieties have been “authorised” for planting and selling as wine, according to Vino Italiano.

Aglianico is the dominant red wine grape in the IGT of Beneventano which itself is a thriving IGT in Campania. In Grapes and Wines, it is described as “suddenly one of the most fashionable grapes of a newly fashionable region”.

There are aromas of vanilla, red fruits too, from this deep ruby coloured wine. It is soft on the palate, cherry and plum, a little spice too, plus a decent finish. Elegant and warm and Highly Recommended. Pair with “all red meats and aged cheeses”.

Il Capolavoro Vino Rosso Appassimento, Puglia (IGT) 2015, 14.5%, €10.00 (down from 14.99).

Some of you may have seen Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín score the goals that gave Juventus a vital away win over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. His contribution was described as “il capolavoro”, the Italian for masterpiece. Might try a bottle of this next time that Higuaín is on telly.

The vinous Il Capolavoro has been produced by using the traditional “appassimento” method, whereby the grapes are partially dried to increase colour and concentration. It has worked well for the Italians over the decades and works rather well here too.

The colour is a rich ruby and you’ll notice the legs are slow to clear. There are intense aromas of dark fruits, chocolate notes too. On the palate, that sought after concentration is pleasantly evident; it is full of flavour with a touch of smooth spice, a hint of sweetness and it is juicy too. Easy drinking and Highly Recommended.

Pairings recommended are: veal, chicken, and pork and any pasta or pizza that comes with a tomato sauce.

Burdizzo Vermentino Toscana (IGT) 2015, 12%, €10.00 (down from 12.99)

Vermentino, a favourite of  mine, may be found “the length of Italy” according to Grapes and Wines but the “best wines come from Tuscany, Sardinia ad Liguria.” Outside of Italy you’ll find some pretty good examples in the Languedoc where it is also known as Rolle.

Vino Italiano considers it “one of Italy’s most distinctive whites” and also highlights the same three regions. Wine writer Fiona Beckett says that many tip Vermentino to challenge the dominance of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris.

Vermentino production in Tuscany, an area where red varieties account for almost 90% of the total vineyard area, has rocketed in the last 10 years, according to Decanter: “…. 2010 found 653 hectares planted to Vermentino. By 2015, the regional government was reporting 1,192 hectares….”.

Our Burdizzo has the colour of light straw. Aromas are of white fruit, with floral and herbal notes, a pleasant mix. Palate is crisp and fresh, no shortage of that white fruit with peach and green-melon flavours to the fore all the way to a long finalé. Highly Recommended.

Barone Montalto Ammasso 2013 Rosso Terre Siciliane (IGT), 14.5%, €15.00 (down from €18.99)

This too uses partially dried grapes, the method known in Sicily as Ammasso. The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Medium ruby red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, light spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.

Castellani Arbos Sangiovese, Tuscany (IGT) 2013, 13.5%, €10.00 (down from 12.99) 

Vanilla is prominent in the aromas of this Highly Recommended medium red; darker fruits there too. On the palate, it is smooth and fruity (cherries and plums), drifts of spice too, plus that quintessential acidity (almost an ever-present in Italian wines), and fine sweet tannins make it a pleasure in the mouth and the finish ain't bad either. Great value.

The producer’s aim has been to use the best Sangiovese grapes “to produce a Tuscan red dominated by fruity and spice notes, typical of the grape”. This worthy effort may be enjoyed with red meats and pasta dishes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

From the Islands. Vermentino from Sardinia And a Grillo from Sicily

From the Islands
Vermentino from Sardinia

And a Grillo from Sicily

According to Vino Italiano, “the deepest expression of the grape is found among the Vermentino di Gallura DOCG wines” and we've got a beauty for you below.

Over the centuries, and up to quite recently, Sardinia (just like Italy in general) was going for quantity over quality in wine. For example Vino Italia says that in 1974, the island’s Trexenta Co-op made about 100,000 hectolitres from more than two thousand acres. By the early years of this century, they were producing 15,000 to 20,000 hectolitres from 700 acres approx.

No wonder then that The Modern History of Italian Wine, a book I keep referring to in this current series, hail Cantina Gallura in the zone of the same name, under director Dino Addis, as one of the most influential Italian wine-makers of the 1990s. The large co-operative was persuaded to reduce yield from 150 to 90 quintals. There were other changes, most noticeably “an immediate loss of income”.

But, “the courage to change” led to “a winning decision” and in 1996, they obtained the DOCG, “the first and only one in Sardinia”. 

Cantina Sociale Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Superiore (DOCG) Gemellae, 2013, 12%, €17.85 Le Caveau
Colour here is a light straw. There are modest white fruit aromas, floral notes too. Smooth, dry and fruity on the palate, a great depth of flavour (apple and melon) and concentration along with a long citrus-y finish. Good acidity too and they recommend trying it with fish dishes, vegetable soups, salads, and white meats. I found it excellent as an aperitif. Don't over-chill this gem, serve at 10-12 degrees and you'll have a very agreeable winner. Very Highly Recommended.

Cusumano Shamaris Grillo Sicilia (DOC) 2015, 13%, €18.95 (€14.95 on sale) O’Brien’s

A surprisingly excellent wine of no little heft, helped by four months on fine lees, from a modest grape, Grillo, that is supposed to be on the wane on the island of Sicily. US wine critic James Suckling regularly gives Shamaris good marks, including 91 points for this vintage.

It has a mid gold colour, bright. There are inviting white fruit aromas, blossom notes too. Fresh and lively fruit (including melon), good body, lovely balance, acidity of course and a decent finish. Highly Recommended.

According to The Modern History of Italian Wine (my current “bible” on the subject), Cusumano (founded in 2001) are one of the drivers of Italian wine in this century and “an extraordinary commercial success”. “There’s a piece of the each of our labels”.  Their other varietals (which include Nero D’Avola) may well be worth watching out for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Trio of White Alternatives

A Trio of White Alternatives

Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine (AP) 2015, 12%, €15.65 Wines Direct

This fresh tasting Muscadet is a long way from the many cheap ones consumed on half-forgotten Breton holidays. It has been rasied sur lie, is organic, biodynamic (vegan friendly). The grape used by the way is not called Muscadet (as many of us holidaymakers then thought) but the local Melon de Bourgogne. It is light bodied, dry, with medium to high acidity and they recommend using it with mussels, oysters and herb omelette.

You’ll note light gold with tints of green in the glass, yeasty aromas, a tingly mouthfeel with lively citrus fruit; rather elegant - the time on lees has helped. All in all, a pleasurable renewal of acquaintance with a wine I once (maybe more than once) had more than enough of. Highly Recommended.

Great for fish and shellfish they say but why not try it my way - with trout (both tinned and fresh, not at the same time!) from the marvellous Goatsbridge Farm in Kilkenny.

La Fonte Vermentino di Terrabianca Tuscany (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines

This is another fresh and fruity wine, on a par for quality with the Muscadet. Colour is a very light straw and the aromas are on the slight side. After the lightness of the aromas, the palate is a surprise and a very pleasant one at that, a smooth feel and then those fresh and concentrated fruit flavours (grapefruit, lemon), excellent acidity and a long finish as well. Reminds me of a good quality Sauvignon. Highly Recommended.

Casa Maria Verdejo, Castilla Y Leon (VDT) 2014, 12.5%, €10.45 Le Caveau

Steely pale yellow is the producer’s apt description of the colour. Aromas too are rather muted, suggestions of apple. On the palate though, it has much more going for it, fresh and dry and zesty with green fruit flavours and a good finish.

Agricola Castellana is a long standing and important coop and this Recommended wine is very approachable and food friendly. Ideal with a salad of Goatsbridge Farm trout, other fresh fish, shellfish. Try it too as an aperitif with olives. Besides, it will do well too with spicy sauces.

Thursday, August 18, 2011



Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2010, 12%, €6.95 at Lidl.
Colour is a pale honey with an aromatic nose. There is an immediate high impact dry tingle on the palate but lively fruit there also, all leading to a rounded wine with a decent finish. Very good value indeed.

Vermentino, the grape, is grown all over the island of Sardinia. It is the same as the grape known as Rolle and grown widely in Provence where it is made into some lovely wines (eg Chateau Miraval). For more info on Vermentino in Sardinia click here

Frascati Superiore Secco 2010, 12.5%, €5.95 at Lidl.
I wasn't as happy with the Frascati. Colour is very pale and it does have an aromatic nose. On the palate, citrus dominates and the refreshing hello fades under its domination. Just too much acidity.

Made with the traditional grapes of Trebbiani and Malvasia, Frascati is the wine of Rome and its tourists (picture). Perhaps there are better examples and you can find out more about the wines of Rome and Lazio (the area around it) here