2020 Martha Stoumen, Vermentino, Venturi Vineyard, Mendocino County.
This beautiful and textural white from Martha Stoumen is crafted from 100% Vermentino from the Venturi Vineyard in Mendocino County, it is her first bottling of this varietal and it turned out fantastic tasting like a cross of some of my favorite Corsican versions, like Comte Abbatucci, Yves Lecia and Clos Canarelli with the cooler climate version found in Piedmonte, where the grape is known as Favorita with a dry palate, brisk and steely fresh, but smoothly textural with a subtle creamy dimension that gives this wine its impact. The Venturi Vermentino, an ultra pleasing Summer wine, was hand crafted with care to bring out the best in these grapes with a lush layering of melon, peach, tangy tangerine and green apple fruits along with wet stones, lemon curd, creamy verbena and sprigs of herb. The nose is slightly confectionary with a light citrus flower or orangey note, but there is plenty of pith and lime zest to keep some welcome taut tension. Enjoy this seriously fun white with your favorite sea foods and or any outdoor dinning you do, it really goes great with food, though many will quaff this Vermentino solo or as an aperitif. I had this wine with a basil, Calabrian pepper oil and tomato flat bread pizza and was rewarded by this wine’s ability to please in its rich feel and refresh the palate.

The Venturi Vineyard in Mendocino County is dry farmed and all organic with the vines mostly being head trained, as this Vermentino block is and all hand tended with Martha using it as a source for many wines in her collection, as the quality is exception and the flavors concentrated, but also with good natural acidity, which gives her wines their energy and balance. Just 94 cases of the Stoumen Venturi Vermentino was made in this premier vintage and it is sure to go fast. Martha says, the Vermentino saw a gentle foot treading, then the grapes were loaded directly into her gentle pneumatic membrane press or “bladder press”. After which, she adds, the pressed juice was settled overnight and then racked off gross lees to tank to begin fermentation. Once the Vermentino’s primary fermentation was completed, the wine was racked again to neutral oak barrels to finish malolactic fermentation and got short élevage of about 6 months. Vermentino, one of the Chateauneuf du Pape grapes, also known as Rolle, is found mainly in Tuscany, Linguria and Sardinia and has found a happy home here in California, from Paso Robles to Mendocino and has the potential to be a huge star. Stoumen limited the lees contact throughout fermentation to preserve crisp detailing, vibrance and keeping some of the Vermentino classic saltiness. Martha’s wines are attractive, authentic and natural in feel, this wine is a stellar addition to her lineup, maybe the best of her whites.
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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