Spring is upon us, and with it comes our thirst for something refreshing and cool. This Vermentino, from Duchman Family Winery, is a signature of the winery, an Italian variety boasting bright citrus and tropical fruit, and a crisp, balanced acidity. Jeb Stuart, wine director and general manager at one of Houston’s hottest new restaurants, Coltivare Pizza & Garden, weighed in on this month’s pick, telling us why he likes it for a hot summer day.

The Wine:
Duchman Family Winery Vermentino 2012

The Grape:
In Italy, Vermentino is grown predominately on the island of Sardinia and on the mainland in Liguria, where it is blended with Trebbiano. Vermentino is a amber-yellow grape that reveals a vibrant, crisp, light-bodied wine with fruity and slightly herbaceous aromas. 

Who Likes It:
Jeb Stuart, wine director and general manager Coltivare Pizza & Garden, Houston, who has spent the last seventeen years developing wine programs in the restaurant industry. During his tenure with Coltivare, he has carefully curated a menu of global wines offering a balance of fruit, earthiness, and acidity that pair perfectly with chef and owner Ryan Pera’s authentic Italian fare. 

About the Wine: 
This Vermentino has a decidedly light and crisp taste due to the high acidity of the grape, which achieves that flavor when it is grown that in the High Plains of Texas. “I love this wine for its versatility and its universal appeal,” Stuart said. “It is the perfect pert wine as an aperitif or to relax and sip in the glorious spring weather of Texas.”

Suggested pairings:
“This Vermentino pairs well with seasonal spring dishes such, like one we’re currently serving at the restaurant: wood-grilled leeks with oregano and pancetta served with a poached duck egg and parmesan cheese,” Stuart said.

On Down The Road: 
Stuart notes how Hill Country wineries are committed to experimenting with varietals suited to the area, but he also turns his sights a bit further north: “In the High Plains around Lubbock, temperature fluctuations between day and night produce grapes that contain good acidity, which in turn allows wine makers to produce well balanced and varietally correct wines.”

Note From the Winemaker: Dave Reilly
“We had great vintages all around in 2012,” Reilly said. “It gave us a mix of the great yield of 2010 and the beautiful quality of 2011. For the Vermentino specifically, I believe the 2012 is the best one we’ve made so far with zesty citrus fruits, juicy pear and a subtle note of white flowers. It’s crisp, clean, and refreshing.”

Buy this wine through the winery, as well as retailers across the state such as Whole Foods Market, Spec’s, Central Market, and some small fine wine retailers.