Below are five tasting notes on Vermentino wines from Sardinia, two superiore designated wines from the more famous DOCG zone of Gallura in the north-east, one from the north-west near Sassari, one from the west side of the island near Oristano and one from the north-east but just outside the Gallura DOCG zone.
Quartomoro - Òrriu Un Anno Dopo 2018 - Vermentino di Sardegna DOC (just south of Gallura)
(fermentation and aging in stainless steel for 6 months, 13.5% alcohol)
Pale gold with aromatic herbs and white fruits on the nose. A full, slightly viscous wine with just enough acidity to keep it balanced. This wine is a bit of a surprise because it doesn't really have the usual Vermentino characteristics but it is a very good wine in its own right. It's definitely a food wine and not at all the type of acidic, fresh and slightly minerally profile we were expecting. Much more rich and oily, not a light wine. Still, a high quality wine and good value at 10 euros. (5,000 bottles produced).
Vinicola Cherchi - Tuvaoes 2019 - Vermentino di Sardegna DOC (near Sassari)
(fermentation and aging in stainless steel for 7 months, 13.5%)
Pale yellow with green reflections. Very ripe with slightly overpowering tropical fruits on the nose which follow through in the taste with mango or papaya to the fore. Definitely on the richer, fruitier side of the Vermentino range, perhaps for us a bit too much as our preference leans towards leaner, more acidic and more refreshing Vermentino but a well-made wine nonetheless and a good ambassador for this style. Expensive we think at 13 euros.
Contini - Pariglia 2018 - Vermentino di Sardegna DOC (near Oristano)
(fermentation and aging in stainless steel, 12.5% alcohol)
Bright straw yellow. Clean tropical notes and yellow fruits on the nose. A little salty with hints of Mediterranean brush and myrtle. We both liked this and it seems little more in balance than the Tuvaoes with more subtle flavors. Fresh, lively wine with just enough acidity to balance the fruity flavors. Good value at 9 euros.
Vigne Surrau - Sciala 2019 - Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Superiore
(fermentation and aging on the lees in stainless steel for several months, 14% alcohol)
Straw yellow with green reflections. Orchard fruit notes on the nose including orange blossom, pear, white peach and some jasmine. Good salinity, this is a precise, focused wine and quite complex with good flavor in the mouth and a lingering finish. Not the best value though at 15 euros.
Cantina Gallura - Canayli 2018 - Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Superiore
(no fermentation or aging information given, 13% alcohol)
Pale straw yellow. Delicate aromatic nose with notes of white fruits, thyme and cedar. Fresher and more acidic than the non Gallura wines above, with less tropical fruit flavors. Sneaky minerality, medium bodied and very well balanced and much more typical of the Vermentino flavor profile without malolactic conversion. Almond notes on the finish. We both liked this wine, perhaps the best of the bunch for us and good value at 10 euros.
There was a noticeable increase in freshness and acidity in the two Gallura DOCG samples compared to the others, with much less of the slightly overdone tropical notes.
Our preference is for a slightly leaner, more minerally Vermentino style encompassing floral notes but with a steely, acidic backbone that makes it refreshing and lighter. The Gallura flavor palate gets most of the way there for me, characterized by apple, pear and citrus with the other Sardinian Vermentino areas tending more towards pineapple, mango and papaya. These are all well-made wines and it's simply a question of personal preference. Elena's first choice would be the Gallura DOCG zone and I would perhaps lean towards the Colli di Luni as first choice, if only for the extra acidity.
We will cover the Maremma Vermentino wines on another occasion as both their reputation and acreage under vine have grown considerably in recent years.
Some of these wines are very widely available in the US, the UK and elsewhere.