It’s best almost 2 years since I posited that Vermentino would become Italy’s next big white wine. Since that time, I’ve tasted and written about many wonderful examples and nothing has changed my mind. Vermentino is here to stay and we’re better off for it.
Vermentino has its origins in the Italian provinces of Liguria and Sardinia, yet nowhere does excel more than in the Tuscan region of Maremma. Producers have noticed and as a result, though many are acquiring land to chase dreams of creating the next Sassicaia, they are also focusing on crafting high quality Vermentino.
It was just last week that I profiled the newest Rosso from Argentiera. Today, the latest vintage of their Vermentino is included in this article. The Poggio Ai Ginepri vineyard lies only 1 kilometer from the sea at 80 meters above sea level. As a result, the soil found there is predominantly sandy. While the earth retains heat, it also allows for exceptional drainage. Additionally, Mediterranean breezes provide ventilation and cool the vines.
The 2019 Argentiera Vermentino Poggio Ai Ginepri is vinified solely in stainless steel. The wine is 90% Vermentino and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. After aging for a period of time on the fine lees, the wines are assembled and then bottled. Freshness is the key, but there is no lack of body here.
Almost colorless, the wine exudes wonderful aromatics of white peaches, pineapple and lemon zest. On the palate, this retains crisp flavors of white peaches and lemon grass. Notes of salinity are perceptible as is an oily note. Medium bodied, this finishes clean and bright. Drinks well as an apperitivo or with lighter shellfish and pasta dishes. 87 points. Find this wine.
This article not only features newly released Vermentino, but also an early introduction to a new winery: Muschi Alti. Located in the Montecucco DOC, Muschi Alti was founded in 1997 by the Ottonelli family and today is run by brothers Silvestro and Alberto. Vineyard plots were analyzed and re-planted in 1998 and in 20o2 their first wine (a Montecucco Rosso) was released. The winery produces about 20,000 bottles of wine per year from Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Vermentino and Alicante. As an aside, I have begun tasting the range of the estate’s reds. I will report on them separately.
The 2018 Muschi Alti Orbaco is 100% Vermentino and absolutely delicious. A pale straw color, the aromas are intense. White flowers, pineapple and lemon notes are fresh and captivating. On the palate, the flavors echo the aromas with incredible freshness and minerality. The undercurrent of brisk salinity adds further appeal. Medium bodied with a crisp palate this is wonderful on its own but excelled with raw oysters and cacio e pepe. Imported to Canada and the EU. Not yet available in the US. 91 points. Find this wine.
Stay tuned for a feature article on Muschi Alti. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely Vermentino and the last few days of Summer!