Tuscan Farro With Texan Vermentino by Avvinare – #WINEPW

The Wine Pairing Weekend group heads to Texas wine country this weekend. Host Michelle Williams of Rockin’ Red Blog, a resident of Texas and fan of Texas wines, provided a wonderful primer on the subject in her invitation post.

While I did not go to Texas wine country, I have had the pleasure of tasting some Texan wines at a seminar led by Professor Jane Nickles, CWE. She is one of those people who left a mark on me after taking one of her classes on the wines of Texas at the Society of Wine Educators conference a number of years ago. “Miss Jane”, as her students call her, is also the author of “WineSpeak 101.” She’s also got a popular blog called, “The Bubbly Professor.”

All of that is part of her official bio but what I remembered most was the way she taught her class. She made Texan wines seem as if they were Pomerol or Lafite. She talked up that wine to such a degree that I remember leaving and thinking I have been missing out not drinking Texan wine. Since that day, I have been reading about the grapes growing there and was taken with the fact that Vermentino has found a place in Texas.

I am a huge fan of Vermentino and have done seminars and events based the grape and the wines it makes in other regions through the world where it grows. Invariably whenever I mention it, someone tells me that Vermentino grows in Texas.

Vermentino is one of the Mediterranean’s great grape varieties. It’s origins are in dispute whether it comes from Spain or Italy. What is not in dispute is that is makes great wines. It is the perfect white wine to sip on a beach, have as an aperitivo or pair  with wonderful seafood. To me it spells summer, sailing and relaxation. Vermentino can be found in a number of different regions in Italy including all over Liguria, pictured above, Sardinia and Tuscany. It can be found in France where it is called Rolle, and in Corsica. It also shows up in Australia and in California, North Carolina, New Mexico and Virginia and Texas.

In Texas, the Dutchman family winery, grows a host of Italian varietals, including Vermentino. Founded in 2004 by Lisa and Stan Dutchman in Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. They believe that the weather is perfect for Vermentino. They source a lot of their fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA. Other wineries to watch are Lost Oak winery, Spicewood Vineyards and Pedernales Cellars. Some wineries source their fruit or at least their Vermentino from Bingham Family VIneyards.

Vermentino has lovely acidity, fresh floral and often citrus notes with minerality in some of its iterations. It can also make late harvest wine or sparkling wine thanks to its various characteristics which make it a good grape for those interested in making a variety of wine styles from the same grape variety. Also, it loves hot weather and is quite productive in terms of yields. It can withstand drought conditions and is resistance to most vineyard diseases, making it an ideal grape for Texas. Many in the State see it as an alternative offering to Pinot Grigio or Albarino or Viognier and think it will be the signature grape of Texas one day.

Thinking of a pairing I settled on a Tuscan Farro which can be made in a couple of ways. Farro is an ancient grain that is packed with nutty flavors and lots of texture if you don’t overcook it. It also has loads of vitamins and minerals that are good for you and more protein than rice.

Here is a great primer on Farro I found. I also found an interesting article on Farro from NPR years ago replete with easy recipes at the end of it.

I like to make it two ways, one easy way with chopped onion and tomatoes, parsley and olive oil. The other with a homemade Pomarola or tomato sauce and rosemary. Yesterday I made the 15 minute version as I didn’t have rosemary in my home. Either pairs well with Vermentino. The Tuscans love Farro and use it in salads, soups and as a side. Vermentino grows throughout much of Tuscany and thus it seemed like a nice combination. I always like to add Peperoncino for a kick and it worked very well here.

Please join us this Saturday, November 9th, at 11 am ET as we share our tasting notes, recipes, and more. Because we’re a far-flung group with members around the globe, we meet on Twitter to discuss our latest food and wine pairing ideas.

If you’d like to participate, we’d love to have you. Just log on to Twitter and search for #WinePW, where you’ll find the thread and can read the latest tweets. To add your comments, put them in a tweet and add the hashtag #WinePW. Hope to see you there!

Here’s a preview of what we’ll be chatting about:



  1. I was so happy to see that they have planted appropriate grapes in Texas for their warm climate. So many plant the most popular varieties thinking that’s the easy path to success.

  2. What a great seminar it must have been to leave such a lasting impression! I love farro so will have to try this. I also got to try the Duchman wines, albeit, not the Vermentino, and am now a fan for sure!

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