Posted by: tomciocco | July 27, 2010

DAMN, I GOTTA GET TO SARDEGNA

Though I’ve been to Italy quite a few times, I’ve never been to been to either of the “islands”, and one of those islands of course is Sardegna. The other one, Sicily, gets far more attention touristically as well as enologically, but Sardegna’s natural beauty, history, and wine scene easily equals its more famous neighbor – or so I’m told…

Due to both islands’ size, geographic centrality (but ultimate isolation), and cultural sedimention over millennia,  Sardegna and Sicily are home to more than a few viticultural oddities and Semidano di Mogoro is undoubtedly one of them. Mogoro is a small town in a remote area in southwestern Sardegna (southeast of Oristano), and Semidano (sem-ee-DA-no) is the name of the vine itself. As is the case with many rare, “rescued” grape varieties, not much is known for sure of the variety’s origins, but here’s a big, fat toast to its future!

This is a variety that, with time and study, could set a new standard for complexity, but think a white Saumur sort of complexity rather than a white Bordeaux type…What I mean to say is that Semidano yields an offbeat, exotic complexity that makes it potentially thought provoking and fascinating…  I poured this beauty alongside a Sardinian green pea frittata, and lamb patties with mint, onion, garlic, etc. and some local (Jersey Fresh!) stringbeans cooked with salame in tiny dice, with honey, and vinegar. Despite the advisements to drink this stuff with white meats and rich seafood (and I agree), it more than held it’s own with the lamb…

Cantina il Nuraghe Semidano di Mogoro “Anastasia” 2008

Slightly greenish pale gold color. Very “knotty” nose of subtle tropical fruit, hay, flint, dried white flowers, and lemon custard. The complexity continues on the tightly wound, medium- to full-bodied palate with a lightly perfumy and elegant strength, a wonderful bitter saltiness, and clear notes of vanilla bean and fennel seed on the finish.

TOM CIOCCO

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Responses

  1. Could you include the importer for the wines that you review? There’s no better way to share the experience than to actually share the experience. Also, would you post the piece you wrote on your visit to Poggio di Sotto again? I just got the 2006 Rosso and 2004 Brunello Riserva. Just love those wines.

    • Hey Dave-

      Importers vary so much from market to market and from time to time that there’s often little good info to be gleaned from importer’s names. I find that the winery is the best place to go to determine local availabilities…

      If I can find the Poggio di Sotto piece I wrote on WL Terroir, I think about re-posting it…

  2. Tom, I confess my love for the often underrated Sardinian wines.

    I didn’t know Semidano di Mogoro, and will of course search for it, but while you introduced the issue let me just give you two “segnalazioni” (like you need them, I bet you already know every single sardinian variety):

    – Nepente di Oliena a round Cannonau who’ve got even D’Annunzio as an estimator;

    – Karagnanj (Tondini) a different rendition of the classic Vermentino di Gallura.

    IMHO the latter is one of the best Sardinian whites.

    Ciao

    • Hey Edo-

      I did not know either of these varieities – Are they just odd clones of Cannonau and Vermentino respectively, or are they distinct varieties?

      Here are two more that coem to mind:
      Vernaccia di Oristano
      Nieddu Manu

  3. If you haven’t trtied it yet, the wine you want is Turriga, Cantine Argiolas, preferably an older vintage. To quote one website: “Turriga is a sultry blend of Sardinia’s most interesting grape varieties—Cannonau, Carignano, Malvasia Nera, and Bovale Sardo. Aged in French oak for 18 to 24 months, then in bottle for another 12-14, it is a powerful, ruby red with notes of plum and berries and a very long finish.”

    Unfortunately, others know its quality already, so it’s very pricey. Worth splurging on some occasions.

    • Totally agree – Turriga is a great wine, but it just kills me to see how expensive it has become. I remember getting the first few vintages for under $20!


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