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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Sardinia Hidden Gems Masterclass


A tasting of wines from Sardinia with Peter McCombie MW

200km off the Italian coast and previously ruled by the Spanish and the Savoyards, Sardinia is something of a hidden gem itself; it is one of those places of which the only thing I know about it is that everyone who goes says it is lovely.

I came away from this Masterclass with some appreciation of the complexity and largely non-Italian heritage of the island, but not yet a fully-formed sense of what Sardinia stands for - if anything.
That may be expecting too much - viticulture has not been as important in Sardinia as in Italy proper and the requirement of the wines has historically been no more than the ability to beef up blends from cooler climates.

If Sardinia does not yet have a strong oenological identity, it is definitely moving towards something more defined.

The grapes for many of these wines were mostly non-Italian, sometimes Spanish albeit by another name - Cannonau is Garnacha, for example - increasing the sense of unfamiliarity. A number of the wines, especially the reds, improved with extended aeration on a subsequent tasting, with the tannins softening and the aromas opening up.
The whites

Cantina di Mogoro Il Nuraghe Anastasia 2016 fragrant and floral with white pepper aromatics; good fruit and rounded with a supple texture. 

Tenute Soletta Kyanos Bianco 2015 herbaceous and lemony-herbal, with some fresh Riesling character; fresh and mineral with a honeyed, leesy richness. 

Tenute Olbios 'Lupus in Fabula' 2016 Riesling-esque with yellow stone fruit and minerality; rich-yet-dry.

Tenute Gregu Selenu 2016 expressive honeysuckle with some late-harvest character; ripe stone fruits, rich full and substantial

The reds
Carlo Pili Monica di Sardegna Ipno 2016 fresh, light, and fruity with cherries and berries

Cantina Mulleri "Cenere" 2016 bubblegum and red fruits; fresh, berryish and juicy with substantial old-vine underpinnings. A quaffer - but with class.

Cantina Nuraghe Crabioni Sussinku 2016 tar, spice, pepperiness and bramble with undergrowth; fresh, substantial and oaky with a firm texture.

Tenute L'Ariosa 'Pedrastella' 2014 floral, but still rather closed up; red fruits with sweet vanilla and freshness. Long with a good structure. Rioja-esque.

Cantina Meana Parèda 2015 smokiness, some jamminess yet fresh and firm with good backbone and structure; long and grippy.

Agricola Soi "Lun" 2014 quasi aged-character nose with sweet spice, balsamic and florality; caramelised fruits but with freshness, length and a supple texture.

Cantine di Orgosolo Neale 2015 fragrant with juicy red berry and cherry fruits, fresh and juicy, with fine tannins. Beaujolais-esque.

Tenute Rossini "Rosso Rossini" 2015 meaty and leathery with black fruits and fresh, slightly chunky tannins. Long and firm. Nebbiolo-esque.

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