Recently I wrote about the launch of the first Vermentino in South Africa, by Attilio and Michela Dalpiaz of Ayama in the Voor-Paardeberg. The occasion took the form of an auction, local and online, on June 16, Youth Day at the Roodebloem studios in Woodstock.
The event succeeded beyond their expectations, raising a whopping R128 000 which will be used to buy a bus for Perdjie farm school in Paarl, enabling children from farms on the Voor-Paardeberg to attend the school started by Ayama and neighbouring wine farm Scali.
What a great way to introduce an unique wine to South Africa! Vermentino is a cultivar with a long history, originally Spanish, but adopted in Italy, with success, particularly on Sardinia, where it enjoys DOCG status.
Ayama's Vermentino comes in a handsome bottle adorned with a label patterned following those made by the must during fermentation. Michela thinks these, in turn, resulted from the classical music tht serenaded the wine in the cellar during this important period. This Single Vineyard maiden vintage started life after harvest in February last year, and spent time in older oak until April this year when bottling took place.
It's an intriguing wine, quite difficult to define: firstly it is distinctly different from local whites,. I detected floral notes and pear aromas on the nose, along with the first hint of minerality. On the palate a little oiliness, similar to some semillon, allied to an elegant mix of citrus backed by flint. The almond that I learned is characteristic did not come through to me nor did the bitterness at the finish, but there was a defnite briskness. I savoured this complex and fascinating wine and have been thinking about what to pair it with - perhaps stuffed courgette flowers or fritto misto di mare? Or what about Pollo all Diavola? Perhaps the Dalpiaz couple will suggest further recommended Italian favourites...
Ayama produced a limited edition that includes a few bottles containing 1, 1,5, 3 and even 5 litres. Find out more from their website or call the farm 0n 021 869 8313