Yeast eats sugar and farts alcohol. That’s fermentation for you! Sometimes it requires the most down-to-earth explanations to really solidify the comprehension of a concept. However, the reality is that there is a true art to fermentation methods in wine-making that can greatly explain the characteristics of a wine as the result. Vermentino provides an excellent example of a grape that is used to produce two different styles of wine.
In alcoholic fermentation, natural or added yeast eats sugars in the wines and produces CO2 and alcohol. This is the most traditional method in still wine production. With regards to Vermentino, this produces a wine comparable to a mild Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is forward with citrus notes and tartness.
Malolactic Fermentation can be used as a secondary fermentation method after the initial alcoholic fermentation and is best known for use with Chardonnay. Wines that undergo Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) commonly exhibit buttery traits – most associated with Chardonnay. However, Vermentino is also frequently fermented a second time using MLF. When Vermentino is produced using this method, characteristics of florals, almonds and butter often result.
Interestingly, this 2018 Pala Vermentino I Fiori exhibits all of the traits of undergoing a secondary fermentation using MLF. The color was a straw yellow with a green rim and subtle effervescence. The smell was buttery with a mild citrus, fresh cut grass and honey. The taste had a very soft acidity, light florals, almonds and honey. I would recommend this wine to someone who enjoys the refreshing characteristics of a Pinot Grigio with the intricacies of a Chenin Blanc.
This 2018 Pala Vermentino I Fiori retails for $15-18 and I gave it a 5 cork rating. I recommend pairing it with a spinach salad with beets, avocado, goat cheese and grilled chicken!