Sardinia's Wines: High Quality, Low Visibility

"Sardinia is one of Italy’s best-kept wine secrets, as its bottles are much less visible on the international scene today than those of Sicily, Italy’s other big wine island," writes Ian D'Agata in his coverage for Vinous of Sardinia's recent releases. He continues, "Sardinia’s indigenous grape varieties have adapted over the centuries to the island’s uniquely dry, hot climate and thus give better results than other grapes introduced to the island in more recent times." Explore Vermentino, Cannonau, and beyond with a case-full of some of Ian D'Agata top picks from this hidden gem Italian island region.

Masone Mannu

Zòjosu Cannonau di Sardegna 2015

Delectable Wine
9.0

Bright deep red. Smoky fresh strawberry, flint and herbs on the nose and in the mouth. Lovely juiciness and good penetration to the red cherry flavors. Finishes smooth, long and saline, with a sweet herb note on the back end. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Pala

S'Arai Isola dei Nuraghi Cannonau Blend 2012

Delectable Wine
9.3

Dark ruby. Fresh floral, chocolate, plum, blueberry and smoke on the complex, perfumed nose and in the mouth. Big, deep, smoky, chocolaty wine that finishes long and ripe but suave. This will win many fans. Cellar it for another couple of years and then enjoy for another 10 years after that. A blend of 40% Cannonau, 30% Carignano and 30% Bovale Sardo. Cannonau gives perfume but not much color; Bovale Sardo adds color and acidity; and the Carignano contributes a refined mouthfeel and a little bit of freshness to what otherwise might have been jammy wines. S’Arai was a field blend until 1998; since then, each variety has been vinified singly, and I find the wine much more precise and focused as a result. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

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Agricola Punica

Samas Isola dei Nuraghi Chardonnay Vermentino 2016

Delectable Wine
9.1

Bright straw with golden highlights. Peach and rose water are complicated by chamomile on the intriguing nose. Bright and fresh; a peppery zing enlivens the ripe white stone fruit and herbal flavors. Finishes long and tactile, featuring an herbal nuance. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Mora & Memo

Tino Vermentino di Sardegna 2016

Delectable Wine
9.0

Bright straw-green. Strongly herbal and minty notes to the pomaceous orchard fruit on the nose. Then bright, dense and saline, displaying an impressive spectrum of unripe stone fruit to tropical fruit flavors, complicated by a note of anise. Finishes big, round and long. A very fleshy style of Vermentino (it spends roughly two months on the lees) that packs a lot of power. The wine’s name, “Tino,” is a diminutive of Vermentino, though it’s so big and round you couldn’t be blamed for thinking they should have called it “Tone,” as in “Vermentone.” The vines are planted on mainly schistous clay soils with a little limestone. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

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G. Battista Columbu

Riserva Malvasia di Bosa 2011

Delectable Wine
9.1

Bright amber-gold. Dried apricot, orange marmalade, aromatic herbs and a hint of mirabelle eau de vie on the nose; there’s just a hint of oxidation. Densely packed, saline and thick, but without any impression of heaviness. Fresh herbal and saline flavors are lifted by noteworthy acidity. The long, suave finish shows a youthful character that hints at this wine’s great longevity. Experience tells me this wine will age and improve magnificently over another 10 years or so. Another bottle I opened was less interesting. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

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Giovanni Cherchi

Cherchi Cannonau di Sardegna 2016

Delectable Wine
9.3

Bright red. Clean, fresh strawberry and blood orange on the enticing nose. Fresh and juicy, with youthfully chewy but vibrant red fruit and citrus flavors. Finishes long and peppery, with a whiplash of juicy acidity. Knockout, fun-to-drink Cannonau wine that goes down like water. Honestly, I found it hard not to guzzle down every glass. Well done. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Cantina Santadi

Latinia Vino Da Uve Stramature Nasco 2011

Delectable Wine
9.4

Dark golden amber. Pungent grapefruit jelly, orange peel, caramel and honey notes on the captivating nose. Rich and creamy on entry, then lighter and lively thanks to an underpinning of fresh minerality. Caramel and sweet notes last and last. Made with 100% Nasco, this is a famous, multiple-award-winning wine, the charms of which have almost always escaped me; not so in this vintage. One of the very best versions of Latinias ever. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Giuseppe Sedilesu

Sartiu Cannonau di Sardegna 2016

Delectable Wine
9.2

Deep red. Musky cherry, fresh herbs, flint and licorice on the nose and palate. Rich, suave and large-scale but less sweet than past vintages, when the residual sugar showed thanks to the very ripe grapes used. The finish is long, vibrant and flinty. I like this wine's intensity of flavor and palate presence, and the broad, fine tannins that spread out to saturate the palate. Boasts 14.5% alcohol, but it’s so well balanced that you can hardly tell. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Ferruccio Deiana

Oirad Isola dei Nuraghi IGT White Blend 2015

Delectable Wine
9.3

Bright amber gold. Penetrating aromas of grapefruit, orange blossom and honey. Then thick, rich and suave, showing lovely freshness to the citrus and cinnamon flavors. Finishes smooth, long and honeyed. Remarkably well balanced, this strikes me as being the best Oirad ever. Very much like a late-harvest air-dried Moscato Bianco wine. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago

Argiolas

Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi Red Blend 2013

Delectable Wine
9.3

Almost fully saturated ruby. Deep, perfumed aromas of dark plum, steel, flint, charcoal and herbs. Enters bright and fresh, then steely in the middle with a savory edge to the red and blue fruit flavors. Complicated by Mediterranean herbs and a hint of tar on the long, almost austere finish. Very serious Turriga with no easy sweetness or juiciness of fruit. Forget about this in the cellar for another three or four years. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous, March 2018) — 3 years ago