Live from Sardinia: We start in the southern part

We arrived yesterday in Cagliari, our home for the next 3 nights. We started with a guided walking tour of Cagliari followed by our  traditional welcome dinner at Antica Cagliari in the heart of the old town.

Cagliari old town

Cagliari old town

Today we began the serious part of our winery visits, with 2 of the top wineries in this area of Sardinia. Our first stop was Argiolas, the 2nd largest producer on the island at 2 million bottles and a long tradtion of 3 bicchieri awards including the Turriga 2011.

This is the story of rags to riches: Antonio Argiolas, who lived 102 years, started the winery from scratch, long before anyone thought of making serious wines in Sardinia. He began with bulk wines but as his sons became involved, the winery started focusing on quality. Giulia, our very gracious host, gave us a complete winery tour, followed by an exquisite tasting of 7 of their top wines:

  1. Is Argiolas 2015, a classic vermentino with refreshing crispness and fruity citrus flavors. The minerality was obvious and we loved it.
  2. Iselis Nasco 2014- nasco is a native grape and the Argiolas version had 60 days sur lie which added a creaminess and lush dimensions.
  3. Cerdeña 2011, a vermentino fermented and aged in barriques and then given 6/8 months bottle aging; lush, unctuous with a golden color and stone fruit flavors. One of my favorites.
  4. Senes 2012 Riserva dedicated to Sardinian centenarians; produced from cannonau. The cannonau is believed related to grenache and was first written about in the 11th century.
  5. Korem 2012, an IGT wine made from a blend of 55% bovale sardo, 35% carignano and 10% cannonau, a great red wine value at 17 euros at the winery.
  6. Turriga 2011, this year’s 3 bicchieri award winner, developed with the help of the late Giacomo Tachis from a single vineyard and a blend of cannonau, carignano, bovale sardo and malvasia nera. This wine wowed all of us with its intense ruby red color and complexity. This will keep and was my favorite of the reds.
  7. Nasco 2012, made the traditional way with this grape:late-harvest with a delightful apricot aroma and balanced acidity

After a wonderful lunch at Argiolas with 2 more wines, we traveled 2 miles down the road to the family owned Pala Winery. We were greeted  by Elisabetta and Maximiliano Pala, brother and sister, who showed us the winery and then treated us a to a tasting of their two top wines: the Stellato vermentino 2014, winner of this year’s 3 bicchieri award, and the 2 glass award winner cannonau riserva 2013. The vermentino was floral and fragrant and full bodied and the red which was aged in 3000 liter barrels for 12 months showed great aging potential.

It will be hard to top today’s visits but tomorrow we go to the winery owned by Sassicaia, AgriPunica, which won’t be too shabby.

For more details on the wines, wineries, restaurants and much more, be sure to check out our daily blogs from Sardinia below:

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Cagliari

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Cagliari Duomo

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Carasau, Sardinia shepherds’ bread

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Argiolas lunch: pecorino flan

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Argiolas tasting room

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Vin with Elisabetta and Maximiliano Pala

Author Vin Marottoli

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