Live from Sardinia: Sulcis Carmignano is King

We headed SW from Cagliari about 60 minutes to reach Sulcis Iglesiente where carmignano reigns as the king of wines. It is only grown in this area of Sardinia and while cannonau is ubiquitous, carmignano has made a niche for itself in this isolated part of the island.

The modernistic Mesa Winery

The modernistic Mesa Winery

The Mesa Winery stands out because it is ultramodern in an area reminiscent of decades past. It’s the story of a very rich man who wanted to create soemthing important in the world of wine. In about 10 years, Mesa has leaped to the top of the top wineries in SW Sardinia and among the best on the island, especially for its carignano del Sulcis.

We tasted 5 of their best:

  1. Opale Dopo 2012, a vermentino IGT with a deep gold color; it was lean with hazelnut aromas,50% aged in oak and then  aged in stainless steel for 18 months; full-bodied and only 5,ooo bottles
  2. Brace Cagnulari 2014 IGT Isole dei Nuraghe which is the IGT for the entire island; 2014 was the best vintage in Sardinia in the past 25 years; aged in large oak vats, this indigenous grape is hard to describe, with meaty flavors and caramelized sweet and sour dimensions; a difficult wine to grasp
  3. Buio Buio Riserva 2013 carmignano del Sulcis from vines that are never irrigated, grown in sandy soils, with bush trellising, 6 months aging in used large barrels; you can smell and taste the saltiness from the nearby sea as well as the Mediterranean brush, a 3 bicchieri award winner
  4. Malombra 2012, 40% syrah and 60% carmignano del Sulcis, a rich serious red blend;
  5. Forte Rosso carmignano passito, 15.5% alcohol, a superbly balanced dessert red wine.

With lunch at a nearby seafood restaurant we had the regular bottling of the Mesa vermentino, the rosato, Buio and the vermentino passito with dessert.

Then it was a short drive to the Agripunica winery, a joint effort by the owners of Sassicaia and the Santadi winery. This top quality winery produces only 3 wines on 70 hectares of vineyards and exports 85% of their production.

After a tour of the facilities we tasted their 3 wines:

  1. Samas 2015, an 80/20 blend of vermentino and chardonnay, with a golden color, citrus aroma and obvious minerality from the limestone, clay and sandy soil
  2. Montessu 2013, a blend of 60% carignano and 10% each of cabernet s, cabernet f. syrah and merlot; redolent of black fruits, spicy and peppery
  3. Barrua 2012, their recent 3 bicchieri award winner is a blend of 85% carignano, 10% cabernet s. and 5% merlot.

The fact that the prestigious Sassicaia winery from Tuscany invested heavily in Sardinia bodes well for this island.


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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