Sardinian Passion: Carignano Del Sulcis

Sardinian Passion: Carignano Del Sulcis

At the recent wine event Sardinian Passion, held 14 February at Eataly New York, Consorzio di Tutela del Carignano del Sulcis presented wines from their region of Sardegna.

Thanks to a thoughtful tasting program allowing for each wine to be tasted with every food course, the pure and unique beauties of five Carignano del Sulcis wines from producers Mesa, Calasetta, 6Mura, Sardus Pater and Santadi, vividly revealed themselves at table.

img_0526bWines from the region showed the craftsmanship of Burgundy, aromatics and flavors that recall southern France, the intensity of Super Tuscans and the power of California Cab, yet remained uniquely, deliciously, Sardinian in character.

Indeed, Carignan grows all over the Mediterranean including Tunisia and Morocco, but nowhere does it find as hospitable a home as in Sardegna’s Sulcis region on the island’s southwestern corner. A home so hospitable, in fact, that vines here remain ungrafted and vineyards can reach 100-150 years old.

The Sulcis, geologically speaking, is Sardegna’s oldest area. Mild winters, hot summers, and strong winds make it perfect for growing Carignano grapes in the region’s sandy soil. At the presentation, I had the good fortune to sit next to Raffaele De Matteis of Sardus Pater who helped me to understand that, in spite of Sardegna’s natural blessings, working Carignano vines in the Sulcis also has its challenges: the vineyards are spaced very closely and so must be worked by hand as quarters are too tight for machinery. But this too has its upside: the temptation to use pesticides is de facto impractical.

img_0532aWith all that Carignano del Sulcis has going for it, the potential for some very obvious market cross-sells – think Rhone, Cali or Tuscany lovers looking for that different something – and what I detect as a growing interest in South Italian wines, why aren’t we drinking more it? When I asked the question during the wine presentation, one importer offered that marketing, budget and promotion will all play a role in getting Carignano del Sulcis wines on the consumer radar. Certainly today’s presentation by the Consorzio of the region’s wines is a great start, and if the wines I tasted today are any measure at all, I should say that we in the US market will be drinking a lot more Carignano del Sulcis very soon.

Kudos to Eataly chef Alicia Walters for an impressive food day 🙂

Massive applause to Vigneto Communications / Susannah Gold for a very organized, well-thought out media event.

Appreciation to both Raffaele De Matteis for entertaining my questions and to Isabelle Bailet (above) who assisted with translation.

And, of course, deepest thanks to Consorzio di Tutela del Carignano del Sulcis for the opportunity to learn more about the region’s exciting wines.

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Joel Mack has worked for a celebrated importer / distributor of Italian wines and continues to study the wines and winemaking of Italy. He has advised many restaurants in making their Italian wine list selections and has provided training to restaurant staff. Today, Joel conducts wine classes and leads specialized private and corporate tastings of Italian wines. Joel carried out his higher education at a highly regarded College of Music and continues to extend an artistic point of view to Italian wine, balanced with factual information about wine, its nature and identity. By day, he applies his time to collaborative software technology. Joel can be contacted at joel at vintrospective dot com.

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