These are the dog days of summer. I can’t get enough of them, knowing what lies ahead. I shudder to think. For now, let’s enjoy what we have, and there’s no better way than with a good, crisp white wine that starts with V. All from Italy. All relatively inexpensive. All food-friendly. All perfect for sipping on a hot summer night. Meet verdicchio, vermentino and vernaccia.
In all three wines, fruit flavors are predominantly citrus and apple. They’re dry. They’re high in acidity. It’s a combination made for great mouth-watering, food-friendly wines. That said, don’t consider them clones of each other. Each has unique characteristics that make it special. Verdicchio can have a pleasant, slightly tart aftertaste. Vermentino can have refreshing tropical fruit flavors. Vernaccia has an interesting bitterness at the finish.
Another oddly coincidental feature is that they’re all at home in central Italy (it’s a bit of a stretch to say Sardinia is central Italy, but let’s go with it). Tuscany is home to vernaccia. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the only DOCG (Italy’s highest wine quality classification) white wine in Tuscany. There’s lots of great vermentino in Tuscany too, but vermentino’s true home is Sardinia. Finally, verdicchio’s home is Marche. Marche is straight east of Tuscany on the Adriatic. As is often the case with Italian grapes, these are at home in one small part of Italy and generally not found anywhere else. That’s part of what makes learning about Italian wine so fun. Salut!
Editor’s note: Andy Carl is a local wine expert who has written this column for several years. This month marks his last column for Woodbury Magazine. We thank Andy for sharing his expertise with us over the years.