Yet Another Grape


Piero Mancini
Vermentino di Gallura DOCG
Current price: about $8

This white from the northeastern corner of Sardinia is very pale gold, offering aromas of herbs and sweet fresh hay. Vermentino is widely planted in Sardinia; it's a vigorous vine that needs lean soil to shine. In the northern reaches of Gallura—the only region on Sardinia with DOCG status—it has to struggle to live, and this produces a complex, textured wine that's redolent of the region's scrubby herbs.

This specimen is lightly alcoholic but still juicy and vibrant, with melon and citrus flavors and a lingering finish that's spicy but not too hot. It would be very food-friendly: it's clean and not overly aromatic, and it cleanses the mouth with its good acidity.

Not a drama queen, and such a deal for $8.


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  • We tried the Mancini Vermentino last night. We were disappointed. Seemed a bit too alcoholic, and that lingering finish you describe wasn’t there at all. This evening I’m giving it a second try, and it’s much more as you described it – quite enjoyable. Is it the benefit of some air, or the TGIF mindset of the drinker?

  • Hi Kate,
    I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience with this wine. The Mancini is a fairly low 12.5% alcohol—very similar to Riesling—so it seems unlikely that the experience you had was due to high alcohol content. It’s possible the bottle you had was corked, which could emphasize astringency over fruit (cork taint, or TCA, kills fruit flavors in wine).
    I’m glad it was better on the second night, but this doesn’t help clarify whether your bad first night experience was due to cork taint, or if it simply benefitted from exposure to oxygen. If this is the same bottle, then perhaps your palate on the first night was simply not predisposed to this wine (I have a theory that our own personal chemistry changes according to what we’ve experienced earlier in the day, affecting our experience of the evening’s wine). If your better experience tonight was with a new bottle, then perhaps the first bottle was, indeed, corked, which I imagine would present as flat and completely uninteresting.
    I find this wine to be strong on minerality and short, in general, on fruit. The minerality makes it uninteresting as a sipping wine, an aperitif, but very food-friendly as a grounding counterpoint to savory flavors.
    Let me know whether it was the same bottle on night two, or a new one. This will help clarify what might have happened.

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