Many Americans “think” of Sardinia, but seldom go there. Italy’s second largest island (after Sicily) is a bit of a throwback world. I remember my great uncle buying unsullied property there, hoping to build someday, but being thwarted by the myriad laws governing this windswept landscape. In the southwest corner of the island, ungrafted vines grow in the sandy soil that reaches from the mountains and spills close to the Tyrrhenian Sea. This is old-vine Carignan territory, and the examples of the Santadi Winery stand out as some of the finest expression of this landscape’s potential. Although pricey, today’s wine is worthy of anyone’s attention—with a special nod to southern France’s Minervois aficionados.
2008 Terre Brune, Carignano Del Sulcis, DOC Superiore $66 srp
Translucent garnet color with a lightening rim. A wild, penetrating nose of late summer roses, raspberry compote and freshly turned earth. Generously mouth-filling with spice-rubbed gamey sensations and exotic berry/plum flavors. Sumptuous but not heavy, the wine has excellent, seemingly effortless balance with a wonderful acid lift on the finish. Really begs for food such as aged hard cheeses, lamb or a pot of three-bean chili. Matured in 100% new French oak barriques, I perhaps sense a touch of Brett, (the Brettanomyces yeast), but not enough to spoil this savory treat. (95% Carignano, 5% Bovaleddu.) Drink now-2019.