Allegrini 2018

If Sangiovese is the king of Tuscany, summer crowns its prince: the Vermentino

Extolled by Dante, it is the wine symbol of the Tyrrhenian Sea. And, with the Consorzio Vini della Maremma, it points to the starred tables

If Sangiovese is the undisputed “king” of Tuscan enology, summer crowns its “prince”. That on the Tyrrhenian Coast - from Tuscany to Liguria, from Sardinia to Corsica - is undoubtedly Vermentino, the protagonist on the beach as on the big tables, just as, on the Adriatic, Verdicchio. Vermentino is an important vine, already celebrated by Dante Alighieri in the XIII Canto of the Inferno: “surge in vermena and in pianta silvestra”, suggesting that the name Vermentino derives from vermena, that is “young, thin and flexible twig”. But the etymology is uncertain, as well as the origins that place the roots of this vine in Spain or France and from there - it seems - it then took off to Corsica, Sardinia, the Ligurian coast and Tuscany, and, with less success, Piedmont. Assuming from time to time a different name: Rolle in Provence or Vermentinu in Corsica, Pigato in Liguria, Favorita in Piedmont. Different names, but a shared soul: loving the sea, sunny and joyful, fresh and drinkable. In spite of the nature that sees him at ease in environments where good weather prevails, surprisingly the first world producer of Vermentino is France. Where, however, it is mainly considered a blended grape. In Italy, on the contrary, the twig becomes a tree and is almost always treated “in purity”, building a preferential link with three regions: Sardinia, Liguria or Tuscany. Where, looking at the sea, it has found its land of choice in the Maremma. The numbers say it: in the last 13 years the share of Grosseto’s vineyards has increased from 2.2% to 8.5%, and with 809 hectares, Vermentino is the first white grape variety in the province, and represents over 50% of the Vermentino produced in the whole of Tuscany. For a production that certainly does not look to quantity alone, on the contrary, it aims to become a quality white wine, able to stand without any reverential fear on the tables of great restaurants. Starting with those restaurants with a Michelin star, from Roberto Rossi’s Silene in Seggiano to the Bracali of the brothers Luca and Francesco Bracali in Massa Marittima (two Michelin stars), from chef Michelino Gioia’s Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole to Trattoria Enrico Bartolini, the gourmet of Tenuta La Badiola, a Terra Moretti Group company a few kilometers from Castiglione della Pescaia, to the Da Caino Restaurant of Maurizio Menichetti and chef Valeria Piccini, in Montemerano (two Michelin stars), which hosted the tastings of the first “Vermentino Grand Prix”, a contest that brought together an exceptional jury to declare the “top 10” of the Vermentino Maremma Toscana.
The competition, organized by the Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana and strongly desired by the president Francesco Mazzei, who, since the beginning of his term of office (August 2018), has believed in the potential of this grape variety, has confronted 64 Vermentini from different companies of the denomination, mostly from the 2019 vintage, but there was no lack of more mature versions, aged in wood, cement or amphora, judged by a group of journalists and professionals, engaged in the five starred restaurants of the Maremma and the historic Enoteca Castiglionese. The result is a top 10 that represents a cross-section of the best white wine production in the Maremma area, in alphabetical order: Agricola Del Nudo Nudo Bio 2019, Belguardo Codice V 2018, Fattoria Mantellassi Scalandrino 2019, La Biagiola Matan 2015, Monterò Monterò Bio 2017, Mustiaio Leardo 2018, Rocca Di Frassinello Rocca Di Frassinello 2019, Terenzi Balbino 2019 E Balbinvs 2018, Val Delle Rose Cobalto 2018.

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