Vermentino di Gallura DOCG is a dry white wine based on Vermentino from 19 townships (‘comuni’) in the provinces of Sassari (17) and Nuoro (2) in the hills of the Gallura peninsula in the extreme north-eastern corner (the “Gallura”) of the Italian island of Sardinia (Sardegna). The DOC was granted in 1975, and in 1996 was upgraded to DOCG, Sardinia’s first (Dino Addis of the Cantine Sociale Gallura pushed for DOCG status). A Superiore version is permitted (details below). Vermentino from around the Tempio Pausania area on the peninsula is noted by Burton Anderson (1990, p291).
Vermentino | ‘The Vermentino variety can be found under fairly intensive cultivation in nearly all the Mediterranean coastal districts from Spain to Liguria and on the two major islands semi-enclosed by that arc, Corsica and Sardinia. It is also grown in small areas on the island of Madeira and in some places in southern France. Vermentino is seemingly Spanish in origin. It travelled from Spain to Corsica in the 14th century and from there went on to Liguria. Its appearance on Sardinia was fairly recent, the final decades of the last century, and it was first planted in the Gallura at the island’s northernmost tip. Although it is now found throughout Sardinia, Vermentino expresses itself best, yielding wines of outstanding personality, in the Gallura, an area incessantly swept by the fierce wind from the Alps, the Mistral. The area’s dry, harsh soils are not conducive to most agricultural production. The quality of the wine is due not only to the microclimatic conditions but also to the character of the terrain, which features a thin and poor substratum of granitic material,’ (Les Caves de Pyrène list July 2011).
Ian d’Agata (2019, p322) points out that the granite here is highly acidic, and shows a ‘very particular’ pink colour, adding that although such granite soil is quite rare in Italy, Gallura is not ‘granite only’ as some areas also have sand and clay.
Production zone by province | Nuoro province communes: Budoni. | San Teodoro. | Sassari province: Aggius. | Aglientu. | Arzachena. | Badesi. | Berchidda. | Bortigiadas. | Calangianus. | Golfo Aranci. | Loiri Porto San Paolo. | Luogosanto. | Luras. | Monti. | Olbia. | Oschiri. | Palau. | San Francesco d´Aglientu. | Santa Teresa Gallura. | Sant´Antonio di Gallura. | Telti. | Tempio Pausania. | Trinita ´Agultu e Vignola. | Viddalba.
Terroir | Ian d’Agata (2019, p322) divides the production zone into two areas: coastal and non-coastal, or internal. The internal area he also divides in two: practically mountainous, and less mountainous (softer, less steep slopes). Falling into his practically mountainous category are the towns of Aggius, Tempio Pausania, Calangianus and Lucas. D’Agata says Vermentino from here shows stoniness, yellow fruit and caper flavours. Two other towns, Monti and Berchidda, usually classed as mountainous are on the border between the Gallura and Luguodoro to the west, and area of softer, less steep slopes–especially Berchidda–compared to internal Callura, says D’Agata. This sort of halfway house produces some of the Gallura’s most balanced Vermentino wines, says D’Agata.
Coastal Gallura covers the towns of Arzachena, Badesi, Lori Porto San Paolo, Olbia and Palau. The soils comprise granite, and warm easily. The climate shows marked day-night temperature variations, and with earlier ripening compared to the mountainous area (Ian d’Agata, 2019, p322). D’Agata (op. cit.) cites the area around Badesi as unique in coastal Gallura for its finer, sand-like desegregated (six) granite and wines which he finds ‘extremely balsamic’ and mineral (Ian d’Agata, 2019, p322). The area is right by the sea and is an area if bush vines.
Wine style | The wine is made from the Vermentino grape (95-100%), as well as optionally from other permitted white varieties (up to 5%). With a minimum alcohol content of 13% vol it may be called Superiore. See also Vermentino di Sardegna DOC. The wine has a yellow straw colour with green tinges and is delicately bitter. Ian d’Agata (2019, p322) finds green apple, and white flowers: acacia, hawthorn and helichrysum, the latter being ‘archetypal’ for Gallura Vermentino.
Burton Anderson, The Wine Atlas of Italy (Mitchell Beazley, London, 1990).
Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019), p322.