Solosole Vermentino is Pure Sunshine

Ask me to pair a wine with vegetable dishes and I usually head straight for Sauvignon Blanc.

Now however, I might take a detour and end in Italy with a Vermentino. Which is exactly what I did this weekend when I served a dinner of grilled Portobello mushroom burgers, chili-garlic roasted broccoli and a big salad of greens topped with marinated vegetables and Kalamata olives.

Did I mention vegetables?

And not just crunchy little nibbles. No, these were full-on-flavor, appetite fulfilling, tummy busting vegetables.  I really did not want a light grapefruity wine alongside.

The Solosole Vermentino is produced in the Italian Tuscan region of Bolgheri.  Vermentino grapes can be found primarily in Northwestern Italy, southern France and the islands of Sardinia and Corsica.  Here in Bolgheri, sitting on the Mediterranean coast, the wine becomes bigger, riper and more full-flavored than in some other areas due to the warm and sunny conditions.  And the winemaker at Poggio al Tesoro uses only stainless steel and no malolactic fermentation to allow the freshness of fruit to really shine. Sitting on the lees encourages complexity and richness.

In fact, “solosole” means “just sunshine” which is essentially what pours from the bottle into your glass. How could this not pair with fresh vegetables?

HERE IS THE WOW!
Vermentino typically gives aromas of lime and flowers.  This Solosole does just that along with pear, peach and apricot. Mineral notes also mingle in.  

The palate is full of bright, fresh fruit–pear and melon, tropical fruits and lemon.  Balancing the bright fruit is a rich texture, mixing in honey and orange blossom.  The finish is dry, showing some lemon pith, a common characteristic of many Italian white wines.

Did I mention sunshine?

Oh my, brightness and warmth just flowed from this wine! After the first few sips, I frankly didn’t care one bit if this wine paired with my vegetable-bomb dinner!  But, it did pair well of course.  All the bright, crisp flavors cleansed the palate of the vegetal notes on the palate.  And the honeyed sweet notes helped to tame down the heat of some of the spices.

The weightier style of this wine made it a fine companion to my big vegetable feast!  But I plan on sipping this sunshiny wine many times this coming summer, with or without vegetables.

THIS WINE IS A WOW! FOR:
Pouring alongside a big vegetarian feast;

Drinking in the sunshine;
Anyone who likes a full-flavored, rich white wine balanced by crisp, bright fruit.

Recipe for the Portobello burger can be found in Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.
Recipe for the salad greens topping, a creation of my friend and colleague Chef Andrew, can be found on www.kcci.com/news/get-cooking-grilled-sirloin-salad. I did not use the sirloin.

About the author: Sue Navratil

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