Giacomelli Vermentino: Complex Winter White from Liguria

Posted by CrushWine

Could this be the cruelest time of the year? The holidays have receded well into memory, daylight seems scarce, the chill is here and spring is still much too far away.

The only answer our eccentric minds could cook up was a Mediterranean-inspired meal with a couple of Vermentini that deliver the fresh warm scents of the sun-soaked Ligurian coast of Italy. (Click here for more on the Vermentino-celebrating meal Joe concocted, including a killer recipe for Bourride - a fish stew from Nice - the perfect partner to Giacomelli's rich Vermentini.)

The inspiration for this winter indulgence was two mind-boggling Vermentini from Giacomelli, including his first-ever, single-vineyard Vermentino called "Boboli." We received the first cases of these wines in October and they have quickly become some of the most talked about wines in the store.

Though Vermentino remains well under the radar, when it finds the right terroir, and it is well tended, the results are just amazing. In their book Vino Italiano, Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch refer to Vermentino as "emerging as one of Italy's truly distinguished grapes." We agree.

There are few wines that evoke a sense of place as well as Ligurian Vermentino. Both of Giacomelli's Vermentini have a rich nose of ocean breezes, salty minerals and complex herbal essences. Compared to the region's benchmark producer Ottiaviano Lambruschi, Giacomelli's Vementini are fleshier with more ample citrus fruit; both bottles are brimming with herbs, saline minerality, round pear fruits, honey and an electric citrus element. These are complicated, mysterious whites with depth and authentic charm.

The 2006 single-vineyard Boboli is a wine that rivals Lambruschi's greats, the Costa Marina and Sarticola. Frankly, it'd be difficult to imagine a better debut vintage than 2006 for this intense Ligurian Vermentino - mother nature handed out water, heat and cool temperatures at the perfect times producing a near-ideal vintage.

The Boboli vineyard is the best situated parcel on the Giacomelli estate with vines up to 70 years old. The wine is left on the skins longer than the regular bottling giving it an exceptional density; the Boboli requires some aeration for its taut mineral core to flesh out - decanting this wine for one hour or more is strongly recommended. But when it finally emerges the wine is nothing less than a dazzling display of herbs, green apples, Meyer-lemon zest all held together by a fine tensile, waxy core that is backed up by some serious power, concentration and drive.

Both of Giacomelli's Vermentini are "winter whites" - rich, complex wines with enough Mediterranean flair for us to delude ourselves on a freezing rain-and-slush-kicked NYC night that we were in the warm Ligurian coast moments away from a plate of Pesto Genovese.

Quantities of Giacomelli's Vermentini are scarce, please click below to view our real-time inventory.