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Wednesday, April 12, 2017
From the Islands
Vermentino from Sardinia
And a Grillo from Sicily
According to Vino Italiano, “the deepest expression of the grape is found among the Vermentino di Gallura DOCG wines” and we've got a beauty for you below.
Over the centuries, and up to quite recently, Sardinia (just like Italy in general) was going for quantity over quality in wine. For example Vino Italia says that in 1974, the island’s Trexenta Co-op made about 100,000 hectolitres from more than two thousand acres. By the early years of this century, they were producing 15,000 to 20,000 hectolitres from 700 acres approx.
No wonder then that The Modern History of Italian Wine, a book I keep referring to in this current series, hail Cantina Gallura in the zone of the same name, under director Dino Addis, as one of the most influential Italian wine-makers of the 1990s. The large co-operative was persuaded to reduce yield from 150 to 90 quintals. There were other changes, most noticeably “an immediate loss of income”.
But, “the courage to change” led to “a winning decision” and in 1996, they obtained the DOCG, “the first and only one in Sardinia”.
Cantina Sociale Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Superiore (DOCG) Gemellae, 2013, 12%, €17.85 Le Caveau
Colour here is a light straw. There are modest white fruit aromas, floral notes too. Smooth, dry and fruity on the palate, a great depth of flavour (apple and melon) and concentration along with a long citrus-y finish. Good acidity too and they recommend trying it with fish dishes, vegetable soups, salads, and white meats. I found it excellent as an aperitif. Don't over-chill this gem, serve at 10-12 degrees and you'll have a very agreeable winner. Very Highly Recommended.
Cusumano Shamaris Grillo Sicilia (DOC) 2015, 13%, €18.95 (€14.95 on sale) O’Brien’s
A surprisingly excellent wine of no little heft, helped by four months on fine lees, from a modest grape, Grillo, that is supposed to be on the wane on the island of Sicily. US wine critic James Suckling regularly gives Shamaris good marks, including 91 points for this vintage.
It has a mid gold colour, bright. There are inviting white fruit aromas, blossom notes too. Fresh and lively fruit (including melon), good body, lovely balance, acidity of course and a decent finish. Highly Recommended.
According to The Modern History of Italian Wine (my current “bible” on the subject), Cusumano (founded in 2001) are one of the drivers of Italian wine in this century and “an extraordinary commercial success”. “There’s a piece of the land..in each of our labels”. Their other varietals (which include Nero D’Avola) may well be worth watching out for.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Stella & Mosca’s Cannonau di Sardegna
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Vendemmia* 2008, 13.5%, €11.95 (Karwig), 3.5 stars.
This island wine held my interest from start to finish. Colour is a weakish medium red but this is Grenache with muscle: mouth filling, juicy, fruity, spicy, straight-up. A lovely lively wine made from the Cannonau grape, a cousin or clone of Garnacha. I’m deliberately using the Garnacha here as it was the Spanish who planted up the island many moons ago.
This rugged island version is some distance from the smooth and polite Grenache you find on the Rhone and none the worse for that. Variety is the spice of life and this Sardinian effort underlines it.
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Riserva 2007, 14%, €15.25 (Karwig)
Noah, it is said, used a garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garrnet is the colour of this wine and I wouldn’t mind having more of this in the dark nights to come.
It is a while since I smelled violets so I can't confirm the label’s description of the bouquet except to say it is quite a pleasant one. But the mega pleasure comes when the wine hits the palate. It is like velvet.
The basic Cannonau above may be Grenache with muscle; this Riserva doesn't lack muscle but let us say that it is extremely well toned, supple and subtle, positively smooth and altogether very attractive.
It is a beautiful mouthful, the finish long and delicious and there are subtle spices from start to end. One to note, for sure.
· Vendemmia = Harvest or vintage.
· The Cannonau, with a big load of flavanoids, may be good for your health. Check it out here.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
A COUPLE OF LIDL WHITES
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2010, 12%, €6.95 at Lidl.
Colour is a pale honey with an aromatic nose. There is an immediate high impact dry tingle on the palate but lively fruit there also, all leading to a rounded wine with a decent finish. Very good value indeed.
Vermentino, the grape, is grown all over the island of Sardinia. It is the same as the grape known as Rolle and grown widely in Provence where it is made into some lovely wines (eg Chateau Miraval). For more info on Vermentino in Sardinia click here.
Frascati Superiore Secco 2010, 12.5%, €5.95 at Lidl.
I wasn't as happy with the Frascati. Colour is very pale and it does have an aromatic nose. On the palate, citrus dominates and the refreshing hello fades under its domination. Just too much acidity.
Made with the traditional grapes of Trebbiani and Malvasia, Frascati is the wine of Rome and its tourists (picture). Perhaps there are better examples and you can find out more about the wines of Rome and Lazio (the area around it) here.