Sardinian wines for dummies – Part 2, Red wines.

Sardinian wines for dummies – Part 2, Red wines.

Growing quality

Up to few decades ago, sardinian wines were use to blend softer nothern italian ones.
Then some local producer start improving vinification techniques, creating very elegant wines. 2015 has been a great year for our winemakers, able to receive many important prices.

Sardinian red wine

As for the withes, I’ll tell about the better known wines, about the ones you may know less, and about the ones you’d like to discover. For each wine I suggest a bottle of red and one of Rosè when interesting.

The one you know

Cannonau
Our most famous wine, has an ancient history, and probably is the father of the Grenache. As strong as the production areas, has a ruby color, reminds about red berries and pomegranate. Alcoholic, dry, it doesn’t have too much tannins. It’s produced mostly in central eastern Sardinia, and in Oliena area gets the name of Nepente.
The bottle
Red: Nepente riserva – Gostolai. Because Antonino Arcadu puts love and technique in his wine.
Rosé: Eressia – Sedilesu. Because you’ll be surprised by the freshness of this Cannonau

Sardinian Cannonau red wine

The ones you knwo less

Monica
It’s a lovely and simple wine, soft with red berries bouquet, with a sweet yet never boring aftertaste. Is grown mostly in the southern Sardinia.
The bottle: Perdera – Argiolas. Because this is the symbol of hard work: a simple wine made beautifully.

Carignano
Personally is my favorite red wine. Important, with a rich and powerful bouquet, its grapes can grow even on the sand. Its best production zone is in the south west on the Sulcis region.
The bottle
Red: Rocca Rubia – Cantina sociale di Santadi. Because you really can’t imagine its perfumes.
Rosé: Rosa Grande – Mesa. Because it’s cool, wine and label too.

Sardinian Carignano red wine

The ones you should know about

Cagnulari
This precious grape is cultivated in the north west around Usini, a small village close to Alghero, on clay soil hills. Ruby and with scents of red berries, has a distinctive spiced taste that makes this wine so interesting.
The bottle: Cagnulari – Chessa. Because you’ll feel all the passion of the family that creates this wine.

Muristellu
This is the ancient sardinian Bovale. It can be produced in a single variety vinification, giving (to my taste) a pointy wine.
I prefer it when blended with Monica and Cannonau, as they do in the Mandrolisai area, a beautiful garden of vineyards right in the middle of the island.
The bottle: Mandrolisai superiore – Cantina del Mandrolisai. Because it’s a superb blend.

Red wines of Sardinia

Nieddera
Little more than 100 hectares cultivated just in the Oristano area, give this beautiful and rare wine. With right amount of tannin, it has an huge quantity of polyphenols. I’ve always said it was healthy 😉 It’s my favourite among Roses.
The bottle
Red: Spinarba – Orro. Because Davide Orro works hard to preserve good agricolture.
Rosé: Nieddera – Contini. Because this was the wine of local farmers, and was made rosé.

Next time we’ll discover dessert and meditation wines, to keep discovering unique flavours and ancient history.

Part 1 – Whites

Sardinian wines for dummies – Part 1, White Wines

Sardinian wines for dummies – Part 1, White Wines

This short journey want to tell about the most known sardinian wines and grapes, some you may don’t know that well and some you’d like to discover.
To each wine I suggest an easy to find bottle with a good value for money.

Sardinian wines

I’m not a sommelier, neither a super expert, I just love wine (as you can tell) and thanks of my job I have the chance to taste wines and get to know winemakers. So I want to share this passion with you. Salludi! (Cheers!)

Winemakers since 3000 years

The nuragic sardinians (early bronze age) knew about wine. The final proof has arrived this year, thanks to the discovery of 15 thousands grape seeds found in the nuragic well of Sa Osa, in Cabras. The DNA research allowed to understand that those seeds are closer relatives of local sardinian grapes.
Again it’s thanks to DNA that we identified more than 120 different grapes, putting Sardinia among the italian regions with the largest number of local wines.

Like a proper wine tasting, let’s start with whites 🙂

The one you know

Vermentino
Fresh, with almonds and citrus bouquets, it’s the perfect summer wine.
The only Sardinian DOCG ( certified and guaranteed denomination of origin), gives its best in the granites of Gallura. It can be grown in many other areas, developing distinctive tastes related to each terroir.
The bottle: Giogantinu – Cantina sociale del Giogantinu

Sardinian wines

The ones you know less

Nuragus
Full bodied and yellow, grown in all southern Sardinia, was the most typical white table wine. Several winemakers reinterpret it, being able to smoothen its strong identity with a touch of elegance.
The Bottle: S’Elegas – Argiolas

Torbato
This delicate wine has a difficult vinification because of its thick skin grapes. It’s cultivated just in the Alghero area, gives a pale yellow wine with green glares and with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
With or without bubbles, It’s always a perfect aperitif.
The bottle: Torbato brut – Sella e Mosca

The one you should kow about

Semidano di Mogoro
Semidano is a fresh wine with a delicate acidity. Its bouquet has white fruit and herbs, has a very pale yellow color, It’s cultivated just in the Mogoro area.
The bottle: Semidano – Cantina sociale di Mogoro

Sardinian wines

Now it’s your turn, tell us about your favorites sardinian wines, we’ll discover them as son as possible 🙂
On next article we’ll present our selection of red and rosé ones, happy wine to everybody!

Calvi to Porto – The Mediterranean Ride

Calvi to Porto – The Mediterranean Ride

Corsica cycling

Cycling through all shades of Granite

Calvi coastline

As soon as we leave Calvi we are along a stunning coastal road backed up by white and pink huge granite boulders.
Below us small coves where sailing boats look like floating on a turquoise sea. After ten km we are tempted to climb to the Montserrat sanctuary…it’s just an idea, after 50 meters we forget about it, it’s a short but at least 20% gradient climb. Well done, we need energy to face the following 25 km…it reminds the Paris Roubaix, just immersed on the deep green of Corsican Maquis.

Cycling Corsica

Galeria black beach

The bad stretch of road ends just before Galeria, a neat village that deserves a detour, at least because we are not going to find anything to eat before Porto. Few houses, some small hotels and restaurant watching a peaceful black beach.
Back on main road we cross the bridge over Fango river, stopping right at the center of it to admire the almost alpine mountains in the distance. For the avid riders, there’s a 15 km out and back along the river arriving at the foot of the mountains.

Climb to Col di Palmerella

Now it gets tough, we have the long yet gradual climb to the Col of Palmarella, actually very long climb 🙂 Well, at the top we rest with the view of Girolata and the bay of Scandola. Landscape is made out of an intense red granite embracing a very deep and blue sea. From now on it’s mostly a never ending gentle downhill. If there’s a place to experience the silence of Corsica may be it’s right along this stretch of road, it almost wraps you up with a feeling of immensity.

Corse jambon

Arrival to Porto

After crossing the two small villages of Curzo and Partinello just before Porto, the road has become an asphalt strip carved on the cliffs above a moving ocean. Very close to Porto, down there we spot the iconic quadrangular Genoan tower, patrolling the far horizon. The sunset from here is really something, a reason itself for the trip.

Corsica cycling

Another great day along The Mediterranean Ride, our epic journey across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

Saint Florent to Calvi – The Mediterranean Ride

Saint Florent to Calvi – The Mediterranean Ride

Agriates

From the silence of the desert to the fascinating Calvi

The Agriates desert

As soon as you leave Saint Florent there’s the Silence.
A 16000 square hectares desert just for us and our breath, calm and at a pace along this very gradual climb. Granite and Maquis, the Corsican shrub, design and give a distinctive perfume to a meditative landscape characterized by rugged rock formations.

Climb to Belgodere

We hit the coastline for few km, then we go back inland climbing towards Belgodere. This is a steeper climb than the one across the desert, yet enjoyable thanks to the views like from a terrace over the valley on right hand side. On the plateau we’ll cross some very small villages, beautifully built with local granite, the goal is avoiding as much as possible the traffic before Calvi, so we challenge ourselves along the last short climb of the day achieving the village of Muro.

Corsica Villages

Views and arrival to Calvi

From Muro we enjoy a gorgeous view over the bay of Calvi and its surroundings mountains. Watch out, there’s a fast downhill with steep hairpins. We get back to main road about three km before Calvi city center. There’s a bit of traffic, but no worries because the road has good shoulders for bikes. Calvi it’s always lively, it’s my favourite Corsican town..even if they pretend Columbus was from here. During spring the views over the snowed mountains it’s stunning.
Have a walk at the Citadelle and along the marina, if you want to experience a good Corsican meal book a table at “U Fanale”

Calvi Corsica

Another great day along The Mediterranean Ride, our epic journey across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

Bastia to Saint Florent, Corsica Stage – The Mediterranean Ride

Bastia to Saint Florent, Corsica Stage – The Mediterranean Ride

“Well begun is half done”

Small village
The most beautiful ring on The Finger

East coast – Swinging on the sea

We leave Bastia along the d80, the ocean is on right and we are immersed in a landscape that smells Mediterranean.
There are some car going and coming back from Bastia, but they pass us easily.
The first village is the elegant Erbalunga, we’d like a coffee, a good excuse to stop and watch locals doing the market shopping…better don’t stop too long, we still have “few” km in front of us.
The ride becomes more and more relaxing, here and there some gently climbs, never above 80 meters asl, giving us some postcards views.

The Pass – A taste of forthcoming climbs

After 28 km of coastal road we head inland in Santa Severa, with a little bit of respect for those close mountains, because we don’t exactly understand how much we’ll have to struggle. The d180 road is a nice surprise, gently sneaking its way up the slopes without climbing too much.
Few km and it looks like we are in another region, surrounded by imposing oaks and chestnuts trees. Last effort and we get the Santa Lucia pass at 400 meters above sea level, with its solitary church playing hide and seek just after the pass.
We think “from now on it’s all downhill!”
We’ve just forget we are in Corsica, one of those places where, after a climb, there’s always another one…

Corsica west coast

West Coast – Like being in a movie

I thought I’ve been cycling in incredible places. Then I arrived here.
The most scenic, unique, dramatic landscape opens up in front of you.
An intricate work of small mountain roads decorating luxuriant and steep mountains sloping into the sea. Some small village rise like a gem from this remote and absolute beauty. You ask yourself how they could live here…but you’d love to stay here, at least for a while.
It’s a continuous enchantment, a spell that in Nonza hypnotizes you with the aerial view of its infinite black beach, with a turquoise and powerful ocean breaking on it.
On the last few km of the coastline the cliffs change into a long golden beach, a short ride across the vineyards of the Patrimonio and we reach Saint Florent. What a day!

Saint Florent

May be this stage has too much beauty for a single day. Will we find better than that on our The Mediterranean Ride ?
I’m confident, at the end of the day we are cycling in Kallistè, the island of Beauty.