Troon Vineyard in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley has been doing some intriguing things with Vermentino over the past several vintages. Their 2014 Blue Label Longue Carabine (NWR 92 Points) featured Vermentino co-fermented with Viognier and blended with a co-ferment of Marsanne and Roussanne; and the 2014 Black Label Vermentino (NWR 90 Points) delivered expressions reminiscent of the renowned white wines of the Vermentino di Gallura DOCG appellation of northeastern Sardinia.
Vermentino is a light-skinned, white grape variety (vitis vinifera) grown throughout Italy (most notably in Sardinia, Tuscany, Liguria, and Umbria) as well as in France (mostly in the Mediterranean south, where it is called “Rolle”), but the variety has only a small, scattered presence in the United States. Vermentino’s aroma and flavor profile bears some resemblance to Sauvignon Blanc, as it can be lean, herbal, and zesty; but it also can be rich, layered, and creamy, not unlike Grenache Blanc, depending, in part, on where it is grown, how it is vinified, and whether it is blended with something else.
For the 2016 vintage, Troon has delivered two distinctively different styles of Vermentino — one inspired by Italian Vermentino, and the other by French Rolle — sourced from separate blocks of their estate vineyards planted on decomposed granite soils. Both are finely crafted, versatile with food, reasonably priced, and pleasurable to drink. Troon has demonstrated, once again and perhaps better than ever, that high-quality Vermentino can be produced beyond Italy and France.
We share our tasting notes, below.
2016 Vermentino | Applegate Valley | Oregon
Troon’s Red Label is made in the Italian style — fresh and crisp, with zesty acidity and a yearning for fresh-caught seafood. It is 100% Vermentino, with delicate aromas of sliced apple, lemon verbena, and green almond that transition to flavors of Anjou pear, green tea, and wet stone — all punctuated by notions of citrus zest and fresh herbs over a mouth-watering finish. It is dry and light in body and texture, with no discernable oak. The fruit picked for this wine was treaded by foot, left on the skins overnight, and pressed the next day. It was fermented in stainless steel with native yeast and aged in neutral French Oak Burgundy barrels for four months before bottling.
12.5% ABV | 380 Cases Produced | $15 | Drink Now
2016 Vermentino | Cuvée Rolle
Applegate Valley | Oregon
Troon’s Blue Label is made in the style of French Vermentino, or “Rolle” (hence the name “Cuvée Rolle”), inspired by the Rolle blends of the Languedoc-Roussillon appellation of southern France. The fruit sourced for this wine was allowed to hang and ripen longer than the fruit picked for the Red Label, and it was co-fermented with 10% Marsanne, a white Rhône grape variety known for its peaches-and-honey aromatics and viscous texture. This wine does present an appreciably richer aroma and flavor profile than the Red Label, with impressions of almond biscotti, honeydew melon, and spearmint on the nose; and on the palate, notions of fresh peach, toasted hazelnut, and buttered herbs — all framed by suggestions of honey-roasted cashews over a long, succulent finish. It is dry and full-bodied, with no discernable oak. It was fermented with native yeast in neutral French Oak Burgundy barrels and aged in barrel for four months before bottling.
12.5% ABV | 318 Cases Produced | $20 | Drink Now ~ 2020
Food Pairing: Serve either of these wines with salads, fresh cheeses (e.g., ricotta, goat, mozzarella), baked brie, mixed nuts, seafood (e.g., oysters, calamari, steamed mussels, shrimp, fish tacos), any assortment and preparation of vegetables, fruit tarts, and other light fare.
Troon Vineyard embraces natural, creative, and age-old (though today unconventional) winemaking techniques. Troon employs only native yeasts in ferments; uses no additives — such as acids, sugar, and enzymes — in their wines; and use only mature (neutral) oak barrels for aging (no new oak). Troon allows the soil, vines, and fruit to express themselves in harmony and with authenticity, and it is telling in their wines. For our previous discussions and reviews of Troon Vineyard and its wines, click on this link.
Availability: For more information on the availability of Troon Vineyard’s 2016 Vermentinos or to purchase them, visit Troon Vineyard virtually at www.troonvineyard.com; at the winery, located at 1475 Kubli Road, Grants Pass, Oregon; or at their Carlton, Oregon, tasting room at 250 N. Kutch St.
Future Release: In the spring of 2018, Troon Vineyard will be releasing a third Vermentino in its 2016 vintage lineup — the Black Label, which is being aged for a year in neutral French Oak barrels, on the lees. We look forward to tasting it and sharing our impressions.
— Scott Hendley