Sardinian Wines: an Age-Old Tradition
Created in an area that is rich in natural wonders, amidst crystal-clear seas, woods and rocky mountains, Sardinian wines are the fruit of a miraculous combination of ancient Nuragic, Semitic, Phoenician, Cretan and Roman traditions, which today are being enhanced by a productive revival that is increasingly targeting international markets. The modern valorisation of regional production involves the dual process of rediscovering ancient traditions and opening up to increasingly global and demanding markets. Through the valorisation and recovery of territorial traditions, producers have demonstrated that they are able to create great masterpieces that are appreciated worldwide, as well as small niche productions that are in great demand among wine enthusiasts.
The oldest evidence of viticulture and wine production on the island is the discovery, in the archaeological excavations of Monastir, of a sandstone winepress dating back to the Iron Age, specifically between the 11th and 7th centuries BC. Analysis of the fossilised organic residues allowed researchers to conclusively identify the remains of what has been defined as the first red wine of the Mediterranean. Other important findings include vats for crushing grapes, some containers and the remains of grape pips from the Arrubiu nuraghe complex in Orroli, in the Cagliari inland area. All these archaeological discoveries have made it possible to establish that wine production on the island was a phenomenon that developed independently among the local populations, well before the Greeks spread the grapevine throughout the Mediterranean.
During the Roman era, there is evidence of important wine productions in the main centres. The etymology of Vernaccia, a vine native to the Oristano area, can be traced back to the Latin expression 'vite vernacula'. The Carta De Logu, a legislative document initiated by Eleonora d'Arborea, dates back to the Middle Ages, in particular to 1392 and, among other things, relaunched wine-growing throughout the island, imposing fines and corporal punishment on anyone who uprooted or damaged vineyards. Over the centuries, the island's winemaking history has been strongly influenced by the populations that have dominated the territory, importing grape varieties and traditions, including the Aragonese, Genoese, Pisans and Savoyards. For example, the diffusion of vines such as Carignano and Spanish Bovale are linked to the Spanish, while during the 19th century the Piedmontese general La Marmora brought the Nebbiolo grape to Alta Gallura in northern Sardinia.
Since the last decades of the 20th century, an important entrepreneurial drive has contributed to the revival of Sardinian wines in Italy and around the world. This has been backed by prestigious enologists such as Giacomo Tachis, promoter of the first Super Sardinian wines, and modern wineries such as Cantina Mesa in Sulcis, Argiolas in the Cagliari area, Sella & Mosca in Alghero and Capichera in Gallura. In addition to these large wineries with an international focus, many other artisan winemakers have decided to focus on ancient traditions, keeping production low and emphasising territorial radicalisation. Among these, small producers such as Dettori, Columbu and Sedilesu have become pioneers.
The Most Important Production Areas
The fame of Sardinian wines is closely linked to certain types that have become famous throughout the world, such as the Vermentino di Gallura, whose production is permitted in the province of Sassari, the Carignano of Sulcis and the Cannonau of the Nuoro area. In addition to these noble examples, there is also an extraordinary variety of indigenous grapes that have not yet achieved the fame they deserve such as Torbato, Nuragus, Nasco, Granazza, Malvasia Bianca and Vernaccia among the white types and Cagnulari, Bovale, Monica and Nieddera among the red types. Today, the most renowned and developed production areas are Gallura, which is the home of Vermentino, the Alghero area, Sulcis, Cagliari and the province of Nuoro, where the main Cannonau areas of Oliena, Nepente di Oliena and Jerzu are located. Many other territories, however, still hide gems of true excellence, offering wines with an ancient history and an excellent organoleptic profile, such as the Nebbiolo dei Colli del Limbara, the Moscato di Sorso Sennori in the province of Sassari, the Vernaccia di Oristano and the Malvasia di Bosa.
The Aromas and Flavours of the Territory
The best Sardinian wines are often characterised by great intensity. The Mediterranean and island character tends to reveal itself clearly, although it can be expressed in different ways: from the great minerality of the Vermentino to the intense aromas of myrtle, shrubs and red fruit of the Cannonau, without forgetting the marine freshness of the Torbato and the sunny warmth of the Malvasia di Bosa. The white wines go perfectly well with fine seafood specialities such as mullet roe, red tuna and lobster. The reds, very often full-bodied and structured, are an ideal choice for the typical roast porceddu, but also cordula and coratella, as well as the famous pecorino cheeses. The wide range of different types of wine, together with the numerous traditional recipes, allow endless combinations for anybody with imagination and curiosity.
If you want to explore Sardinian wines, you can find them for sale on Callmewine at the best online prices along with a wide selection of fine and typical bottles of the territory on sale. Compare the different characteristics and styles, and choose the perfect bottle to discover one of the most interesting wine landscapes of the Mediterranean.