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Jankara Vermentino di Gallura Superiore 2011
Hailed for centuries as a Mediterranean vine-growing paradise, multiple cultures over many centuries have ruled the large island of Sardinia. Set in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Phonoecians, Ancient Rome, and subsequently the Byzantines, Arabs and Catalans have all staked a claim on the island at some point in history. Along the way, these inhabitants transported many of their homeland’s prized vines and today Sardinia’s modern-day indigenous grape varieties claim multiple origins. Sardinia’s most important red grapes—namely Cannonau (a synonym for Grenache) and Carignan—are actually of Spanish origin.
Vermentino, a prolific Mediterranean variety, is the island’s star white. Vermentino has a stronghold the Languedoc region of France as well as Italy’s western and coastal regions, namely Liguria (where it is called Pigato), Piedmont (where it is called Favorita) and in Tuscany, where it goes by the name, Vermentino. The best Vermentino, in arguably all of the Mediterranean, grows in Sardinia's northeastern region of Gallura where its vines struggle to dig roots deep down into north-facing slopes of granitic soils. These Vermentino vines produce highly aromatic, full and concentrated whites of unparalleled balance.
Today aside from its dedication to viticulture, Sardinia remains committed to maintaining its natural farmlands, bucolic plains of grazing sheep and perhaps most of all, its sandy, sunny, Mediterranean beaches.
A fantastic, aromatic white grape whose best wines come from a northeastern corner of Sardinia called Gallura. Vermentino di Gallura DOCG, despite its light body, can be decidedly complex. Common flavors associated with this wine include pear, white peach, grapefruit, lime zest, fresh almond and crushed rocks. It is dry but fruity and the finish is snappy and bright. Sardinian producers like to pick early to retain lively acidity but a fuller style has also become popular. In lesser proportions Vermentino grows on the island of Corsica. But it comprises a large proportion of the whites in southern France, namely Provence, where it is called Rolle. Vermentino does well in Tuscany and in Piedmont, where it is called Favorita. It also is thought to be genetically identical to Ligurian’s Pigato grape. As Pigato and Favorita, it does well paired with fresh and simple seafood dishes and light appetizers. Wines with similar characteristics to Vermentino include Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.