I tasted a 100% Vertzami by Antonopoulos – the first thing that struck me was its deep and intense colour, bordering on black. As the last years have seen a lot of research on the association of antioxidants with suppressed rates of degenerative diseases, I investigated the grape further. Vertzami actually contains appreciable amounts of non-coloured phenols. In a study of 20 different grape varieties, Vertzami was the richest variety in total anthocyanin content (TA), followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. The TA found Vertzami was more than 3 times higher than the average*!
Area grown: Western Peloponnese, Western Central Greece, Ionian Islands, noteably on the Island of Lefkada
History: Vertzami is thought to be a distinct member of the Marzemino/Barzemino/Balsamina cultivar family, which had their origin in Italy and was introduced by the Venetians during their dominion of the Ionian Islands.
Grapes: The vines are vigorous and resistant to many diseases. The grapes are deeply coloured with thick skins, high tannin levels and moderate to high acidity. They ripen late in the last September weeks and are best cultivated at a low altitude. Vertzami is often used as a blend to add colour.
Nose/Bouquet: My notes on this particular wine can be found here.
*The following excerpt is reprinted from Food Chemistry 99 (2006) page 789 – Principal phenolic compounds in Greek red wines by S. Kallithraka, E. Tsoutsouras, E. Tzouro, P. Lanaridis, with permission from Elsevier.
Regarding total anthocyanin content (TA) (Table 2), it varied from 19 (No. 5) to 1012, (No. 10)* the average being 308 mg l_1 in agreement with the results obtained by Harvalia and Bena-Tzourou (1982). Vertzami was the richest variety in TA, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Augoustiati. Mandilaria and Agiorgitiko were also rich in TA, in agreement with the results of Kallithraka et al. (2001) and Makris et al. (2002). *In this table, No. 10 was Vertzami.