Vermentino Wine – The Ultimate Guide

Vermentino wine is kind of the Dark Horse of the white wine world. It’s continually growing in popularity but has yet to reach the kind of broader spread typical with other wines.

However, it can provide a fun alternative to your favorite Sauvignon Blancs or Pinot Grigios.

In addition, understanding the taste profile and food pairing options of this wine will make it an easier purchasing decision for many.

Vineyard in Liguria, Italy that produces vermentino

Where Does Vermentino Wine Come From?

Vermentino wine and grapes originated primarily in the Liguria region of Italy, though it is widespread across many parts of Europe.

For example, Hungary grows Vermentino grapes and calls them Furmint.

Evidence also shows that Vermentino wine grows throughout Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon in France. These regions possess the warmth and coastal proximity that create Vermentino. 

Vermentino growers often focus on coastal areas, particularly near oceans.

These regions provide a pleasant salty sea breeze that strikes the grapes during the growing season.

As Vermentino grapes possess a thin skin, the salty breeze leaves behind a slight residue in the fruit. Most growers believe this wind helps to enhance the flavor and provides a chalky undertone to the taste profile. 

In recent years, Vermentino has expanded to various wine-growing regions in America.

For example, producers in Lodi, California, and Hill County, Texas, produce different Vermentino varietal wines.

These varietals include slightly more pungent taste profiles compared to the old-world types. This increase in American production has led to the higher popularity of Vermentino in the “New World.”

Vermentino vineyard overlooking a dock - Vernazza Liguria Italy
Vermentino wine and grapes originated primarily in the Liguria region of Italy. Growers tend to focus on coastal areas, preferably near the ocean. They believe the salty wind gives the grape a nice distinct texture and taste.

How is It Pronounced?

Vermentino is reasonably simple to pronounce. Read this phrase out loud, pronouncing it phonetically: ver-mehn-TEE-noh.

Put emphasis on the third syllable to ensure you ask for it properly at any wine store you visit.

If you still feel uncomfortable pronouncing Vermentino, watch this YouTube video. It will walk you through pronunciation and minimize potential mistakes.

Which Foods Pair Well With Vermentino Wine?

Vermentino wine often pairs best with various types of meat dishes, particularly when younger.

A relatively newly brewed Vermentino (younger than five years) has a sharp flavor that goes well with various kinds of fried fish, shellfish, and oysters.

Italians love pairing it with a seabass flavored with fresh olive oil that is lightly baked or fried.

However, Vermentino also goes well with vegetables and vegetarian- or vegan-friendly foods.

Pair it with delicious spring and summer vegetables, such as fava beans, fennel, artichokes, and asparagus. Steam or fry these vegetables to bring out their flavor more effectively when paired with Vermentino wine.

More mature Vermentinos possess a broader but bold taste that mixes better with lighter meat dishes.

You can pair lobster, veal, or pork with any of the vegetables mentioned above.

Avoid frying these foods but, instead, broil or bake the meat and steam the vegetables to get the best results. Frying will give the foods a slightly burned taste that doesn’t blend as well with a more mature Vermentino wine.

Vermentino wine and Oysters served with lemon
Newly brewed Vermentino (under 5 years old) tends to pair well with shellfish, oysters and fried fish.

Smell and Taste

Vermentino has a light body that possesses higher levels of phenols than other white wines.

As a result, it has a somewhat bitter texture that compares favorably to green almonds.

However, two prominent Vermentino taste profiles exist. The first is relatively rich with a thicker and creamier texture. 

The second is lighter and possesses undertones of peach, grapefruit, and lime.

The first type is made using a unique bacteria that produce a compound known as Diacetyl. With this wine varietal, anticipate an oilier aftertaste that lingers longer than the non-Diacetyl varietal.

Where are the Best Regions for Vermentino?

Currently, about half of all Vermentino wine comes from the Sardinia region (Cannonau is another popular wine from here) in Italy.

However, the highest quality wines in this region come from the northeastern area and is known as Vermentino di Gallura.

Wines of this “Superiore” quality are carefully tested to include higher acidity with a smokiness to the taste that adds to its density. 

All registered Vermentino di Gallura must be 95% Vermentino grapes produced to stringent production guidelines, including picking them at the proper ripeness and eliminating any damaged or rotting grapes.

Other popular regions for Vermentino include Provence, which produces a fine Rose.

Similar Wines to Vermentino

Vermentino compares very well to most types of Sauvignon Blancs or Rieslings.

However, it also has a taste somewhat similar to most Pinot Grigios.

The overall taste profile will range from the lighter side of Sauvignon up to the creamier and more rich Pinot Grigios, depending on where it is grown and how the wine is harvested. Most European Vermentino wines have a Sauvignon Blanc profile.

American Vermentino wines take on a bolder and more experimental flavor.

This approach is not uncommon with American winemakers who want to stand out from European makers. Typically, American winemakers produce wines richer in Diacetyl.

These Diacetyl Vermentino wines will taste more similar to a Pinot Grigio and have a similar creamy texture.

Where to Buy Vermentino Wine 

Vermentino wine should be available from most wine stores near you.

However, the options may be limited because Vermentino is still not as popular or widespread as other white wines.

As a result, you may need to put in a particular order with your wine dealer. Availability and prices will vary heavily based on the winemaker and the distribution company with which your dealer works.

You may also buy Vermentino wines from various online shops for a variety of different prices. A typical price for a bottle of Vermentino is around $10 or so, though higher-end bottles may cost much more.

Naturally, the price will vary depending on the vintage and the maker, so pay attention to these facets when buying a bottle. 

5 Best Vermentino: Our Picks

  • Vigne Surrau 2015 Branu (Vermentino di Gallura)
  • Contini Vermentino di Sardegna Tyrsos 2015
  • U San Muletto ‘Irrésistible Blanc’, 2013
  • Château Barbanau – L’Instant blanc 2014
  • Berton Vineyards – Vermentino Metal Label 2016

When to Serve Vermentino Wine 

Vermentino wine serves best in the warm months of late spring or through the hottest days of summer.

As a white, it must be served chilled to bring out its best flavors.

Serve it in a high-stem glass and grip the stem as you drink to avoid warming up the Vermentino with your body heat.

Vermentino wine works well as both a dinner wine and a dessert wine for any of the foods mentioned above. 

Emma Miller