For this month’s Italian Food Wine and Travel investigation into Vermentino, a crisp, acidic, white wine commonly found in the Italian regions of Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany, we focused on two from Tuscany and discovered that while the same grape and region they had two equally pleasant and completely different flavor profiles yet both paired wonderfully with our meal of oysters, lemony caesar salad chockfull of salty anchovies and parmesan, fried calamari, and pasta carbonara. And they offer a great value! Scroll on down to see what others drank and ate!
If you’re not familiar with this wine, don’t be afraid to try something new! In many ways, it is as familiar as Sauvignon blanc — it has a similar flavor profile and pairs with similar foods.
So similar, in fact, that while we played the wine glass game — as in which glass makes this wine taste the best — we tried two: a pinot grigio glass and a Sauvignon glass. Both the sauv blanc glass and the pinot grigio glass brought forth great fruits and florals, but we found the nose to deliver more in the Sauv blanc glass. The pinot grigio glass gave it a softer delivery on the palate. Either glass would be a good choice to use when serving a vermentino.
2016 – Rocca Di Monetassi Calasole – Vermentino Maremma Toscana DOC – SRP $17 (bought at Bevmo)
2017 – Cecchi La Mora – Vermentino – Maremma Toscana SRP $17 sample
- raw oysters with nasturtium pesto crostini
- cheese plate: goat cheese with oven roasted tomatoes, spicy olives, goat cheese gouda, goat cheese medallions in herbs and oil
- calamari strips
- pasta carbonara
The salty caesar salad loved the fruit in these wines. What a beautiful pairing! Both of these wines loved this salad. This felt like a million dollar meal. We did not have a bad pair with our meal this evening. The wine loved the rich creamy carbonara flavors — a dish which always surprised me because it has no cream in it! Instead, the rich flavor and texture comes from the eggs, panchetta,and cheese. The richness of the pasta is mellowed by the lovely fruit in the wine. The pasta and the wine went together like the best of relationships.
2016 – Calasole – Vermentino – Rocca Di Monetassi – 12.5% alcohol SRP $17
Sue bought this wine at Bevmo so we’d have two to compare and contrast.
Color: Pale, kind of greenish gold.
Nose: Rewarding — you get a big sniff with a bit of mineralogy, a bit of floral, a bit of fruit. The aeromatics will not knock you out but it is all there.
Palate: Super refreshing, great summer wine, mouthwatering, and makes you want to have food. It is really nicely balanced between the fruit and the minerals and the florals, without being overly complicated.
Pairing: Excellent with oysters, goat cheese, olives, but it was stunning with our nasturtium pesto on a crostini.
2017 – La Mora – Vermentino – Maremma Toscana SRP $17
sample — thank you!
Color: Green gold, very pale.
Nose: Sue felt there was “saline and acidic, citrus, or citrus blossom, while I loved the fresh nose on this wine:
if there was a perfume that smelled like this, I would wear it
Palate: Citrus and minerals
Pairing: Oddly bitter with the marcona almond, super fun with our spicy “Typical Napoletana recipe olives” from Cost Plus world market –the wine tames the spice, but brings out a very nice fruitiness in the wine.
Both wines were beautiful with oysters; the La Mora brings out more of the sea in the wine where the Calasole brought out a rich creaminess in the oyster. We think that what goes well with Sauv Blanc will most probably go well with a vermentino. Sue found marinated goat cheese medallions at Trader Joe’s soaking in olive oil and herbs. This was a lovely pair. One of our favorite go to’s is goat cheese topped with oven roasted tomatoes. This also did not disappoint with either of these wines.
Grab a bottle of these wines a baguette, goat cheese, olives and oysters, and head to the beach.
Who else went on this wild ride? How to your make this carbonara? Scroll on!
Sue’s Basic Carbonara recipe
- 4oz pancetta
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 16 oz fresh peas
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 16 oz bucatini pasta or spaghetti or fettuccini
Bring pasta water to a boil. Add peas 3 to 4 minutes before pasta is done to cook the fresh peas. While pasta cooks saute pancetta about 4 to 5 min till golden; add garlic and saute 1 to 2 min longer. In bowl whisk together eggs and grated cheese. When pasta and peas are done, pull off the stove and place in sauce pan. stir. Take off the stove and stir in egg cheese mixture. mix quickly as to avoid scrambled eggs. If too thick, add a bit of pasta water to thin.
Keep reading for more on Vermentino!
Lauren from The Swirling Dervish writes on “Vegetarian Plates and Pigato from A.A. Durin: Perfect for Your Summer Table”
Katarina from Grapevine Adventures dishes on “Vermentino by Antonella Corda – An expression of Sardinia Terroir”
Nicole Ruiz Hudson from Sommstable brings us “Piero Mancini Vermentino and Salmon Two Ways”
Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Cam posts “From Sardegna to the Land Down Under: Vermentino + Pizza alle Vongole”
Host Susannah Gold at Avvinare is all about “Vermentino in its Varied Styles from Liguria to Sardegna.”