It’s inevitable. As the weather warms, my mind turns toward Vermentino and other crisp whites. They are perfect for the lighter dishes the season brings. With their fresh, lively aromas and flavors, they are perfect for the patio or deck.
I’ve written often about Vermentino; it’s one of my favorite whites. But not all whites I enjoy come from Tuscany. In fact, the whites of Campania are also very interesting and versatile with food. And in addition, they can be wonderful values. Today, I’m discussing two new releases that are wonderful examples.
Villa Matilde lies between Rome and Naples along the Campanian coastline. Founded in the 1960s by Francesco Avallone, the winery is now primarily run by his son Salvatore and daughter Maria. The property consists of 3 distinct estate vineyards totaling approximately 300 acres of vines.
Greco di Tufo is an ancient wine grape from Campania. Arguably, it’s the region’s most important white variety. The Greco di Tufo DOCG lies in and around the village of Tufo, but the wine also takes its name from the soil where it is grown. “Tufo” is a type of limestone that is created from ash ejected during volcanic eruptions which has compacted over millennia.
The 2019 Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo is a beautiful wine. Comprised of 100% Greco, it sees only stainless steel vinification and aging. As a result, it’s fresh, crisp and lively. Medium gold in the glass, the wine evokes aromas of lemon zest, white peaches and floral tones. On the palate, the wine is fresh and clean. Pure notes of almond, white peach and citrus fruit are notable and are backed by an undercurrent of flinty mineral. This is very attractive. 90 points, and a great value around $15. Find this wine.
In addition to La Carbonara, Summer also means Pesto in my house. Vermentino is a great pairing. Tenuta Campa al Mare extends over 30 hectares from the hills of Bolgheri to the Mediterranean Sea. The estate was founded in 1999 by Giovanni Folonari and the sandy soils on the estate, combined with fossilized sea bed minerals, create the ideal environment for Vermentino.
The 2020 Campo al Mare Vermentino is another example of the excellence Italy is achieving with this grape. Clean and pure, the 2020 is a pale straw color. Aromas of lemon grass, peach, mango and white flowers are notable and lead to similar flavors on the palate that are backed by powdery minerals and salinity. Refreshing and light on its feet, this is another example of the great whites coming from Italy in 2019 and 2020. Like the Villa Matilde, the wine is vinified and aged solely in stainless steel for 4 months. 91 points, and also around $15. Find this wine.
What to pair with these wines? Raw Oysters are a favorite of mine. Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara and of course, Pesto! Pick up some of these wines this season and enjoy all they can deliver.