Guide To Reasonably Priced Sardinian Wines
“Due south of Corsica is the island of Sardinia, long the source of excellent vermentino and cannonau (the local, and some believe original, version of grenache noir). Recently, producers like Giovani Montisci, Gianfranco Manca and Alessandro Dettori have begun to demonstrate the potential for serious quality on Sardinia…”Mark Andrew, in Noble Rot, Issue 11
We have yet to drink an unpleasant Sardinian wine. So you will be relatively safe whatever you buy. Fortunately for those coming from outside the Eurozone the wines are now cheaper than they used to be.
The main grape varieties are Cannonau and Monica for red and Vermentino for white. The Sardinian rosé is also good.
When we are in a restaurant we often drink the house red, (ask for il vino rosso della casa). If they have it, it is likely to be their own local wine served in open carafes and frequently chilled. It’s cheap, good, and wholesome – as you would expect – not sophisticated in any way.
The cheaper reds
If you are buying bottles, a good drinkable wine which is relatively cheap (if you have lots of young on whom anything better might be wasted) is Costera at around €7.
And Noriolo, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva from Salla & Mosca, and Terre Rare are all good in the €8 – €9 range
One of the best hovering around the €10 mark is Rosso Fosco.
Sass’Antico (also €9) is softer and more rounded than the typical Sardinian wine.
Of course, at the super cheap end of things, and you are catering for yourselves, you can go to a local cantina and get them to fill a flagon of local wine for you. We pay €2.50 for a litre and we serve it cold – as mentioned above, especially good in hot weather.
For a few more euros
Moving up the scale other good wines are Tanca Ferra and Cannonau di Sardegna Reserva from the Jerzu vineyard of Alberto Loi, Cardedu. Both can be purchased for around €12. There is also Mamuthone Cannonau de Sardegna, from Dantina Giampiedro Pugginoni and Nepente di Oliena Cannonau di Sardegna from Cantina Oliena.
Then Kanai Riserva, Galuna and Kre’u can all be had at about €12.00 – €13.00, the Kre’u is well worth the extra few euros.
Colline del Vento (€12) is a typical good Sardinian wine with a full taste.
Up the scale again, Rocca Rubia Riserva is good at €14.00.
Open the wines a couple of hours in advance. Like most wines they improve if allowed to breathe.
“Sardinian wines are quite powerful and strong. They are deep coloured and full bodied, in character half way between an Australian wine and a Bordeaux – better than an Australian wine, but not as good as a good Bordeaux.”
At the top end of things
And further up still there is Terre Brune. You may find different years at different prices. This is a wine which wins a lot of prizes. It is the ‘big brother’ of Rocca Rubia, but then the price is €33.00 or so. Sometimes it is available in a supermarket. Otherwise you will need to go to a specialist wine shop.
The Sardinians are rather proud of Turriga. Depending on the year you can pay up to €400 per bottle, but the 1998 / 1999 / 2000 should be only (!!) around €65.
But Terre Brune is fine for special occasions. Rocca Rubia is more than good enough for most dinners and the other wines are all excellent for every day drinking.
Back in 2002 Agricola Punica bought a vast 150HA estate, of which Barrua is the finest 60 HA in the DOC of Carignano del Sulcis and the wines I.G.T. of Isola dei Nuraghi. The 2011 Barrua, Agricola Punica, IGT Isola dei Nuraghi contains 85% Carignano, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. It is aged 18 months in oak and is a beauty.
There are many other wines. The thing is to experiment and enjoy them. It is more a question of your taste and pocket. In this respect the Sardinian wines are quite powerful and strong. They are deep coloured and full bodied, in character half way between an Australian wine and a Bordeaux – better than an Australian wine, but not as good as a good Bordeaux.
They improve if you open them well in advance.
And it’s relatively easy to experiment. A friend of ours tells us:
“when we arrived I arranged to go to Cantine di Dolianova in the centre above Cagliari and I went and chose some very lovely wines, taking their recommendations (of course after tasting at 10.30 am):
• Terresicci – which is an extremely good Barbera Sarda and some native grapes which has been aged in OAK
• Falconaro which is 40% Cannonau and 30% Montepulciano and 30% Carignano, this according to the expert was their second best wine.”
But there are many specialist wine shops all over Sardinia.
Sardininan white wine
If you want white wine, the best grape variety is Vermentino. There are lots of different brands and at around €5-6 in the supermarkets they are a good fresh drink before dinner or with fish.
If you like a little sparkle in your young white wine try Costamolino – around the €5.50.
With respect to rosé look for a Cannonau grape. There are lots of brands – it’s hard to distinguish any particularly good one. The price is around €5–6.
For further information look at the following sites:
- Sella e Mosca
Sardinian wine is often hard to find anywhere outside Sardinia (and because of the delivery costs it can be expensive). In the UK you can source it from Sardinia Wine in London.
If you are interested in a restaurant guide to Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari, go to this post.
For a post on pistoccu di San Vito – a type of Sardinian bread – go to this post.
For 16 Foodie Discoveries for Visitors to Sardinia, go to this post.
If you’re thinking about visiting Sardinia go here for a good selection of houses for rent.
This post is dedicated to Jeremy Asher, for whom it was written in the first place.
Music to listen to as you sip
As you sip listen to the gorgeous, haunting voice of the Sardinian singer, Elena Ledda.