Some of our wines this month hail from one of Italy’s states that was given a level of greater autonomy than the rest under article 116 of the Italian constitution. This was done in 1947 after WWII in an attempt to take into account their unique cultural and historical diversity and prevent secession. Our first wine this month is Sardinia.
This island is located closer to North Africa than it is to Italy and was under Austrian rule in the 18th century while they occupied the island for about 7 years. Other than this, Sardinia has spent most of its time as The Kingdom of Sardinia owing fealty to such far flung governments as the Byzantine Empire and Spanish oversight. It is here that it is believed the grape Cannonau originated later to be co-opted by the Spaniards and renamed Garnacha.
Historically, linguistically and culturally, and obviously geographically, the island is detached from the mainstream of Italian civilization. Consequently, it shares few of the varieties that we have grown used to on the Italian mainland. One will find no Sangiovese or Pinto Grigio here. Also unlike the rest of Italy, vines play a small part in the agricultural economy here with over 40 percent of the land dedicated to the grazing of sheep for milk and meat.
Sardinia does share one attribute with some of its southern mainland brothers. Historically its wine production has been used to beef up the lighter wines from northern cool climate regions. This was long the basis of viticulture in places such as Puglia. While the overall picture is far from encouraging, small quantities of good wine do exist and lend hope to quality producers.
Argiolas is one such producer. In the early 1900s Antonio Argiolas planted the vines and started the firm handing it down trough successive generations. Today it is run by Antonio’s grandchildren. , Argiolas Costera, is a Cannonau from Sardinia. Also known as Grenache in France and Garnacha in Spain, Cannonau has been touted by Dr. Oz for its life extending properties. He has suggested that the local wine drunk at every meal is a significant contributor to the average lifespan of the region exceeding 100 years old.
So come on down today and pick up one of these beauties. You may not live to 100, but at least you will be drinking good wine:
Argiolas Costera, Intense ruby red with garnet tinges on the rim. The aroma of sweet black cherry, pepper and licorice lead to a warm and full bodied expansive palate. Excellent texture with full, ripe fruit flavors lead to smooth tannins and a persistent finish. Enjoy with roast meats, aged cheeses or hearty tomato sauces. Just 17.99!!!
Argiolas Costamolino, Straw yellow with light green tinges around the rim. Supple aromas of citrus, pineapple, tropical fruit and lemon grass are supported by a zesty acidity. Fresh and dry with a pleasant delicacy and crispness makes this wine perfect with simple grilled white fish, steamed mussels or sushi. Only 14.99!!!
Villa Solais Vermentino, Sardinia's best known white, this golden colored, dry wine is herbal and aromatic, displaying light almond flavors and a fresh well balanced finish. Perfect for that Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Limited availability as it was a special buy. Sale 12.99!!!
~ Randy Freeland ~
Prices good through 12/24/14.
~ Randy Freeland ~