The grape named Vermentino is mostly associated with western Italy. (Yes, I know it goes by other monikers elsewhere.) The white wine made from this unusually named grape is a specialty of Sardinia, but very good stuff is also made on the nearby mainland, close to the coast. Antinori makes a delicious one in seaside Bolgheri, and I recently sampled a delightful example from nearby Maremma. Aia Vecchia is the estate name; it is also influenced by proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Because Vermentino possesses such tantalizing qualities, it is planted throughout both the old and new worlds, but there’s something special and rather unique about this sea-kissed bianco by the bay.
Color of newly mown hay. A vibrant nose of lemon oil, fresh herbs, especially ginger, springtime grasses and maritime air. Flavors are refreshing and citrus-like, but also rich with a chalky, almost clay-like texture on the finish. This may not sound appealing, but it surely is! It’s a wine of substance as well as with airiness, a most uncommon M.O. Vermentino is a grape of character that sings its own song. Great with fish, poultry or as a bracing aperitif. Drink now-2016.