Saturday, November 13, 2021

Sardinia Living with Sella & Mosca's Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva

As we enter the colder days heading into winter one can only dream of the warm days passed or sitting on an island soaking in the rays.  Lets venture to the second largest island in Italy, Sardinia, to explore one of the well-known wineries, Sella & Mosca, and their Cannonau Riserva. 

The Region ~ Sardinia 

Sardinia is located in the western part of the Mediterranean.  It’s Italy’s third largest region after Sicily and Tuscany.  Sardinia is separated by the French island of Corsica to the north by the Straight of Bonifacio.  Farther out to the west are the Spanish Balearic Islands.  To the East Sardinia is separated from Italy by the Tyrrhenian Sea and just south is Africa.   

Consisting of 1,100 miles of coastline, Sardinia is of course filled with plenty of beaches, but is also a rather rugged terrain.  It’s predominantly a mountainous and hilly landscape filled with cliffs along the sea, forests and scrub.  Many of locals live more inland and are hunters opposed to how we typically would live here in such a serene setting along the seaside line with many having an occupation of fishing. 

Sella & Mosca vineyards
Copyright of Sella & Mosca

As one can imagine the weather here is Mediterranean and quite hot.  Thankfully there is a strong mistral wind that blows through the island that helps reduce humidity and moderate the temperatures.   

The Winery ~ Sella & Mosca 

Sella & Mosca started in 1899 with Mr. Sella, an engineer, and Mr. Mosca, a lawyer that acquired land on the northwestern corner of Sardinia in Alghero.  They at first created a nursey for rootstocks, which was crucial to have phylloxera free vines when the disease was tearing through Europe in the early 1900’s.   

Their estate is located on 1,600 acres with 1,200 acres dedicated to vineyards, one of the largest continuous acreage of vines in Italy.  Their wines are produced from estate grown grapes primarily  focused on the native grapes of Sardinia with a small percentage of international varieties.   

Sella & Mosca’s winemaker, Giovanni Anna, is partnered with Giuseppe Caviola, one of Italy’s known wine consultants.  Today the winery is under the umbrella of Terra Moretti Vino.  They produce their Cannonau in Alghero and also their Vermentino in Berchiddeddu of the Gallera and their Carignano in Giva of Sulcis.

The Wine 

Cannonau is Sardinia’s predominant grape and rules the larger production of wines for the region along with the white grape, Vermentino.   It’s genetically related to the Spanish grape Garnacha.  Cannnonau’s home resides in the eastern part of Sardinia in the Nuoro, which is the Classico area for this grape.  Half of the Cannonau wines produced in Sardinia hail from this area. 

The wine I’m sharing today is the 2017 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Riserva.  The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC encompasses the whole island.  In order to be labeled under this DOC the wines must be made of a minimum of 85% Cannonau with additional local varieties that may include Bovale, Pascale and Carignano.  The Cannonau Riserva require at least 13% alcohol with 2+ years of aging with at least 6 months spent in oak. 

2017 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Cannonau Riserva
I quite enjoyed this 2017 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Riserva made from 100% Cannonau.  Translucent ruby in color.  Aromas of deep cherries, blackberries, chocolate and spice quickly pull you in.  With a juicy acidity up front that lingers on the palate.  Medium bodied with low tanning.  Black fruits and cherry still present on the palate with notes of leather and herbs.  The importer is Taub Family Selections. ABV 14% SRP $12-17

I paired this wine this week with some sauteed chicken, roasted brussel sprouts topped with some extra virgin olive oil and delicious sweet potato gnocchi with butter & sage from Trader Joe's.  An enjoyable evening and pairing!

wine and food pairing with Cannonau

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Beauty of Barbaresco with Vite Colte

As we round out these last months of the year our Italian Food, Wine and Travel group is facing the 3 B’s head on: Brunello, Barbaresco and ending the year with Barolo.  This month as we feature Barbaresco I’m readdressing a winery I shared earlier this year, Vite Colte.  I had attended a virtual tasting around the time last year sponsored by Vite Colte and had yet to share their Barbaresco that I sampled so this was the perfect opportunity to do so.  

The Winery 

You can revisit my previous blog post on Vite Colte where I shared a couple of their Barbera d’Asti bottles.  Vite Colte, is a cooperative winery, located in the Piedmont wine region set in the Langhe.   Vite Colte falls under the umbrella of parent company Terre da Vino and was established about 10 years ago.  The aim was to build a network of small farmers with quality as the main focus.  Today the cooperation consists of about 194 growers with acreage covering over 740 acres.   

Map of Barbaresco
From Vite Colte's site

The beautifully architected winery, by Gianni Arnaudo with sustainability at the core, was built in 2000 and is set amongst some of the cru selection sites of Barolo.  The growers and vineyards are selected by a strict criteria shared on their site: 

     A minimum of 15 year old vineyards 
  • Low yields 

  • Healthy plant nutrition 

  • Pruning based on buds 

  • Manual vegetation management 

  • Hand harvesting 

  • Sustainable practices with organic and/or integrated viticulture 

The growers work closely with winemaker Bruno Cordero and vineyard manager Danielle Eberle to produce the highest quality fruit. 

The Wine 

Vite Colte makes riserva wines in only the best vintages which equates to about two to three times every 10 years and are released onto the market only after ten years.  Quite the investment! 

2010 Vite Colte Barbaresco Riserva Spezie DOCG

The 2010 Barbaresco Riserva “Spezie” DOCG is grown in soils made of fossil marls and clay.  The fermentation lasts about 20 days with malolactic fermentation in oak for 2 years and an additional 12 months in the bottle.  The color was garnet with aromas of red fruits and some spice.  What I love about Barbaresco is its femininity.  Barolo is always claimed to be the more masculine of the two, but that is what makes me appreciate Barbaresco.  Full-bodied with a solid structure.  Moderate tannin stand strong for the 2010 vintage, but nice concentration and elegance drinking well with still time left in the bottle.  ABV 14.5% SRP $65-70 

Join the rest of our Barbaresco food and wine lovers as they share their suggested wines and pairings.  Catch us live for a chat on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST @ #ItalianFWT.  See you there!

*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.