Cantine Ermes Vento di Mare Grillo 2019

Medium-plus straw color; citrus, grapefruit, white peach, melon, spring flowers on the nose; lemon-lime, green apple, white peach, pear, grapefruit, minerality-saline on the palate.

Cantine Ermes Vento di Mare Grillo 2019

Dry; no tannins; medium-plus acidity; medium-light body with slight viscosity. The harvested grapes undergo a cryomaceration process for about eight hours to extract maximum color from the grape skins. Fermentation lasts 13-15 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel. Made with bio-certified organic grapes. 12.5% ABV

Grillo is the signature white wine from Sicily, where most of the grillo vines in the world grow. The name means “cricket” in Italian and also is an Italian surname. Once used exclusively in marsala production, grillo now is made as a varietal such as this effort.

Grillo often is referred to as a fuller, funkier alternative to pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. The vines can withstand high temperatures and drought and still produce copiously. Grillo is not an ancient grape. DNA analysis indicates it is a cross between catarratto and zibibbo, a biotype related to muscat of Alexandria. It likely was created by Antonio Mendola in 1873.

Cantine Ermes vineyard

Cantine Ermes member vineyard (from website)

Cantine Ermes Società Cooperativa Agricola began in 1998 in the Belìce Valley of Sicily. The website notes “nine courageous winegrowers” decided to join forces after the area was severely affected by an earthquake in 1968. Today, the cooperative has 2,373 members and 31,250 acres in three Italian regions—Sicily, Puglia, and Veneto—with one-third of the vineyards organic. They produce 11.5 million bottles a year and sell in 29 countries.

Cantine Ermes winery

Rosario de Maria is the Cantine Ermes president. Paolo di Maria is the general manager. Giuseppe Clementi is the technical manager. With so many grower-members of the cooperative, the key figures in an operation such as this are those who manage the operation.

Vento di Mare means “sea wind” and reflects Cantine Ermes vineyards on Sicily. The website notes: “Thanks to the wind, a constant companion for most of the year, which blows from the sea to the highest hills of the countryside to mitigate and refresh the grapes in the hot Sicilian summers, we can find in our wines unique characteristics, distinctly Mediterranean and important structure, balanced by excellent freshness and balanced flavour.”

Cantine Ermes harvest

The closeness to the sea delivers minerality and slight salinity. The website notes: “In Sicily, in the sunny hills of the Belìce Valley, where the pedoclimatic characteristics and the morphology of the land, together with the typically Mediterranean climate, create the ideal conditions for organic farming, with significant day-night temperature ranges and good plant ventilation thanks to the sea breezes, we grow the vineyards from which we produce our organic varieties.”

Cantine Ermes Vento di Mare Grillo 2019 is crisp, clean, refreshing. Excellent, versatile food wine, especially with lighter fare. Simple, well-made wine that showcases Sicily’s signature white grape. Very pleasing mouthfeel. Works well as aperitif. Pair with shellfish and light fish; calamari; pasta dishes with white sauce; risotto; chicken piccata; light appetizers and snacks; vegetarian fare. Cheese—fresh goat cheeses; feta. $10-12

Cantine Ermes website

Cantine Ermes Vento di Mare page on their website

Cantine Ermes president Rosario di Maria
Cantine Ermes general manager Paolo di Maria
Cantine Ermes technical manager Giuseppe Clemente
Cantine Ermes fermentation tanks
Cantine Ermes production facility