Synonym: Piccobon, Uva Sapaiola, Vermentino Bianco, Formentino (Italy); Carbesso. Carbes, Brustiano di Corsica, Malvasia Grossa, Malvasie Precoce d’Espagne, Malvasie à Gros Grains or Malvasie, Rolle (France).
Commonly mistaken for: Agostana, Canaiolo Bianco, Favorita, Malvasia du Doaro, Sauvignon, Pigato, Vernaccia.
Origin: The origins of this variety are uncertain although most of the world agrees that it is most probably Spanish. Around 1300 it was introduced to Corsica (where it is called Rolle) from Spain. Between the XIV and the XVIII century it arrived in Liguria. According to Acerbi (1825), in the beginning of the 19th century, it was particularly widespread in San Remo where it existed in two distinguishable types, set apart by leaf structure; either 3-lobed or 5-lobed; this last is distinguishable by looser bunches denominated "Vermentino of third quality". In Liguria it was also common in the zone of Ventimiglia and Sarzana. Eventually the variety became more common in the Tuscan province of Massa Carrara whilst becoming less used in Liguria. In the Ampelografic Bulletins (1881 and 1887) and in the volumes of the Office of Agriculture (1897) it was not mentioned among the cultivated vines in Sardinia, where now it is very common. It is often considered identical to Favorita and Pigato, but this hypothesis doesn't find confirmation in the genetic or sometimes physical characteristics. It is genetically quite similar to the Hungarian variety Furmint.
Agronomic and environmental aspects: It has a preference for sunny places, hilly with dry grounds and above all those in proximity to the sea: where it yields the best productions. It grows well in foothill regions, in deep soil and prefers a more expanded training. The production is good and constant; it has a preference for medium-short pruning. Being a vine of the coast zones it withstands the brackish winds and the drought.
Diseases, pests and disorders: particularly sensitive to frost because of the early budburst. Sensitive to moth and downy mildew; mildly resistant to powdery mildew.
Growing Tip: expanded, cottony, of white colour with reddish edges.
Leaf: of medium-large dimensions, pentagonal, 5-lobed. Has an U or closed lyre petiolar sinus, superior side sinuses shaped like a closed lyre with overlapped edges, while inferior are like an open lyre. The upper surface is plain or bubbly, and it bends downward.
Bunch: medium or medium-large, cylindrical or pyramidal, usually loose
Berry: of medium-large dimensions, spherical, with waxy bloom, medium thick skin, of yellow/amber or yellow/greenish colour, it depends on solar exposure of the bunches.
- Rolle: The bunch has a large size [486 g. 30/03/05] with a medium-loose density of berries. The berry has medium-large size [2.61 g. 30/03/05], of yellow/greenish colour and thick skin. Medium resistance to botrytis.
Training system: bilateral spurs cordon
Training system: pergola
Vermentino is often harvested early as it has a tendency to lose acidity towards full ripeness, but many Sardinian growers, where it is grown completely without irrigation, get it to go to full maturation and even wait for the berries to shrivel a bit before harvest. The wine is yellow in colour with golden shades, broad and fresh fragrance, dry taste, round, warming, slightly aromatic, can be successfully made with little oak treatment, to add lively perfumed characters, good acidity and good body. Some newer style winemaking is now being made using barrel fermentation and other oak usage. The final product becomes better with ageing. Used in many DOC, such as Cinque Terre, Colli di Luni, Golfo del Tigullio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Bianco della Valdinievole, Bolgheri, Candia, Colli Lucchesi, Montecarlo, Vermentino di Gallura and Vermentino di Sardegna.