Island Wines from around the Mediterranean basin–Part Two

Here are FOUR wines from islands within the Mediterranean realm—Sardegna, Sicily & Corsica. Each are interesting, tasty and very unique.. These islands are definitely on my bucket list, not only because of the wines, but the countryside, foods, the smells, the people, culture and the list goes on. All 5 somehow seem tainted by the western world. These wines remind us of that.  I can’t wait to trek on down & visit each & experience their magic first hand.

2016 Vigne Rada Vermentino di Sardegna “Stria”  

This is a dry, minerally, vivacious, uplifting, completely refreshing white wine from Alghero on the northwest coast of Sardegna, an area “surrounded by stunning beaches and breathtaking limestone cliffs on either side. Conditions here are ideal for growing high-quality grapes: fresh maritime breezes, while the poor, rocky soils are perfectly suited to the production of balanced, characterful wines. Farming is sustainable, by hand, with help from the whole family. Vigne Rada’s Vermentino is reminiscent of wildflowers and Mediterranean herbs, with a mouth-coating texture and clean, saline finish”.

2016 Vignetti Vecchio Etna Rosso “Sciave Vive” 

The adventuresome sommeliers throughout the U.S. are sniffing/searching around Etna, down in Sicily for the next “discovery” to be found.  It is a very hot topic nowadays–Nerello Mascalese grown in high altitude volcanic soils–, although I would say, finding really good ones are hard to come by.  “Husband, Carmelo Vecchio and wife, Rosa La Guzza are true locals to the Island of Sicily. Their “Sciare Vive” Rosso—comes from 1.5 hectares (1600 to 2000 feet in elevation) and innately captures the rustic character of the wild countryside it is grown in and definitely the most interesting of the Sicilian red wines we have had to date. 90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% mostly white indigenous varieties (Minnella, Inzolia, Carricante, Grecanico, Catarratto, Malvasia) for aromatics, refinement and texture.

2015 Terre Nere Etna Rosso “Guardiola” 

With all of the hoopla amongst the sommelier community across the country for Etna wines, we ran across this one.  It has the masculinity of the Nerello Mascalese as its core–intriguing, savory, dark characters–smoke, espresso, musky, slightly singed sandalwood, with a very savory charm & presence.  Guardiola is a 1.6 hectare parcel, mostly pre-phylloxera vines, located between 800 to 1000 meters in elevation.  This is certainly is a wine to pay attention to.

2017 Marquiliani Rosé Gris

I am a huge fan of this wine & this winery.  Finally, the 2017 has arrived, all the way from Corsica. We sadly did not get much of it this year, so here is your opportunity to try it . As importer Kermit Lynch once said—“this wine is like drinking a cloud. There’s an absolute weightlessness to it.  Nothing is left on the palate but perfume”. This is much more than a romantic notion. It is captured in the bottle.  “The Amalric family has farmed Domaine de Marquiliani since the 1950s. The village of Aghione is not far from the old Roman capitol of Corsica on the eastern coast of the island, poetically known as the Costa Serena. Flanked against the Corsican Mountains where the flats begin to rise into the hills, this small village of 235 inhabitants is just as celebrated today for its sulfur springs, olive groves, and vineyards as it was thousands of years ago. The enduring legacy is no coincidence—cool nights, high altitude, and the soil help the grapes retain their freshness and allow for a slow, even ripening. The terraced land of Aghione is a mix of schist and granite gravel with silt that has descended from the mountains over the last ten thousand years.”

2016 Giovanni Montisci “Modestu” 

This is a VERY unique white wine to say the least.  Other worldly, I would say… I haven’t had anything quite like it.  One can tell this is Moscato, just from smelling it–fragrant, lime blossoms, star fruit with a thickness/viscous mouthfeel, surprisingly done with lots of charm, freshness, intriguing stoniness AND vinosity.   Yes, this wine really blindsided me on how interesting it really is to savor, taste after taste.  What??????   Giovanni started with only 2 hectares in Mamoiada, located in the more remote, mountainous inland–60 year old vine Moscato, grown in sandy, granite, clay soils, wild yeast fermented in 1000 liter stainless, NO ML, then aged for 6 months in OLD barrique.   A VERY interesting drink….& somewhat pricey, which makes sense given what it takes to grown & produce such a wine!

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