2018 Avivo Vermentino, The Bench Vineyard, Clements Hills
92 points, Christopher Sawyer - SommJournal
Vermentino is exactly what we love in a white wine: crisp, refreshing, flavorful, and beautifully aromatic without being in-your-face. The fact that it’s grown in Italy along the Mediterranean coast and on the island of Sardinia suggests that it is great with seafood — which it is. But it’s also our favorite wine for Thai food, chicken, and salads.
Native yeast fermentation, followed by native malolactic fermentation. No additions of any kind except a micro-dose of sulpher (<30ppm) at bottling.
"Vermentino is a white grape known for its fragrant aromas and crisp fruity flavors. With a rich history linked to the famed Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia and the sacred winegrowing regions in northern Italy and southern France (where it’s called Rolle), Vermentino has recently become a popular varietal to plant in California as well. The latest case in point is the AVIVO 2018 release, which is made with pristine fruit from The Bench Vineyard in Clements Hills—a special sub-appellation of Lodi, known for its warm daytime temperatures and windy afternoons that are similar to the climate conditions in the coastal ranges along the Mediterranean Sea.
With a pretty light golden hue, the wine opens up with bright aromas of spring flowers, ripe tree fruits, fresh melon, green tea, magnolia blossom, and wet rock. In the mouth, the energetic notes of crisp green apple, tart pear, grapefruit and Crenshaw melon are intermixed with hints of Key Lime pie, fresh sage, mineral, and a long, dry finish that invigorates, refreshes and stimulates the palate with each sip. Overall, a fantastic wine to serve on a warm afternoon or to complement fresh seasonal dishes any day of the year.
Food Pairings: Goat cheese, fresh veggies, prosciutto and melon, chilled split pea soup, gourmet salads, fresh shellfish, Sushi, chicken skewers with tangy aioli dip, and Vietnamese cuisine."
Vineyard: The Bench Vineyard, Clements Hills AVA
Release Date: January 2020
Production: 1,494 cases
6x Avivo Vermentino, The Bench Vineyard, Clements Hills
12x Avivo Vermentino, The Bench Vineyard, Clements Hills
The art of making great wine starts with the thoughtful process of choosing what grape varieties to grow. Which is why we started by challenging conventional wisdom about what kinds of grapes really belong in California.
To our surprise — and ultimately our delight — we concluded that California’s climate is not at all like that of the regions of northern France, where the five varieties that constitute over 93% of the winegrapes grown in California originate. That struck us as a problem.
On the other hand, it is exactly like that of the Mediterranean, specifically Italy and Spain. So that’s what we chose to grow — and it’s made a huge difference.
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Received the bottle right before the office closed for New Years but didn’t get a chance to taste it until Sunday evening. Not having had any Vermentino before, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but with light floral and fruity notes of lemon and green apples on the nose and acidic but not overly tart on the palate, I found the wine to be pleasing to drink on its own and thought it also paired well with the salad I had at dinner topped with ginger dressing. If it weren’t for the bountiful score of wines over Christmas, I’d pick up a few bottles of this.
Good afternoon, I’m a bit late here but we’ve had some weather drama here in the mid-Atlantic!
A few days ago, I was lucky enough to receive something new to try:
2018 Avivo Vermentino.
The label asserts that Avivo wines are intended to be immediately drinkable and shares that they are biodynamically produced. There are also assurances that the wine wasn’t treated un-naturally (or rather, that natural production is important to the Vintner) if that can be translated equitably between California and some other states in our Union.
I’m not typically much of a white wine consumer and prefer most examples to be chilled. Accordingly, I tucked this Vermentino into the refrigerator for safe keeping. I perused the freezer and pulled out some salmon, and what the heck some asparagus spears for the next evening. 24 hours later, I began preparing dinner and popped the synthetic cork, and was met with an assertive waft of kiwi and sour pear.
This dissipated quickly. I poured a few ounces into a glass and let sit 10 min—and then 10 more after finding the initial temp lower than I expected.
When I returned to it, the initial nose was almost entirely absent, leaving behind a hint of flintiness. The first taste was nice, honeydew melon but just a little sour but with a bit of gunpowder at the edge of the palate and sides of the tongue. It left behind a little silk and subsequent sips yielded little taste. However, did linger in the mouth. Hello, malolactic fermentation.
The wine label also noted that it is intended to pair well with food. Accordingly, I wrapped up a basic baked salmon with various spices courtesy LeBoite, NYC and steamed asparagus spears. The spears were an afterthought just in case a plated pic became warranted…… But, while the food was tasty and my boon companion SWMO was captivated, it was entirely un-photogenic.
I got no new flavors from the wine and was content to replace the cork and put it back in the fridge, pulling some chicken drumsticks out of the freezer in anticipation of Day 2. Thereupon I set up the drumsticks with flour and seasoned breadcrumbs and, after a few minutes in the microwave for safety’s sake, gave the air fryer a try. The chicken proved marginally palatable. The wine however, seemed more pleasant than on day one. I did allow it to warm a bit more and enjoyed subtle nondescript fruit tones that this time persisted. So, given the auspicious time of year, thought I’d spice up the atmosphere a bit and see how various chemicals emanating from a scented firelog would bear on results.
As one might expect, most of those particles went up the chimney and yielded no change in results.
As I mentioned, I don’t avail myself of white wine very often, and I’m not sure whether one would normally expect much change in flavor profile. I was not enamored of this wine on Day 1 but did find it pleasant on Day 2 with the expectation that it is probably a value priced offering.
@smtcapecod Thanks for detailed and entertaining review. The KFC Firelog is an unexpected bonus oddity of the sort that I think is welcomed here.
I would say that for most “aromatic” whites, as I expect this to be, I’d definitely have them at warmer than refrig temp. I usually like “cool basement temp” which is the closest I get to “cellar temp” – maybe a bit lower than for a red, but maybe 50-55F. (I’d have a good red at closer to 60-65). IMHO the idea of refrigerator-food-temp (35-40) whites comes from decades of cheap Chardonnays where you just want to hide whatever comes out once it warms up…