Italy’s most iconic wine estate, Tenuta San Guido, is a partner in the top Sardinian venture, Agripunica. Together with legendary Tuscan consulting oenologist Giacomo Tachis, they have matched Carignan with the warm south Sardinian climate. ’Carignano gets sweet, soft tannins due to the intense light of the south,’ explains the winemaker, adding that the nearby sea counters with a cooling influence on the 25-year-old bush vines. ‘It feels like a frontier, the same as Bolgheri did 50 years ago.’ A small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is planted in a clay-based soil not too dissimilar to Bolgheri, the home of Sassicaia. Barrua is 85% Carignan in a rich powerful style, whilst Montessu is 60% Carignan and is slightly softer for earlier drinking.
After the richly-fruited 2009 Sassicaia, the 2010 is back to its serious, brooding self. Likened to the benchmark 1985, it will age effortlessly for three decades! The delicious Le Difese is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, whilst the Guidalberto is a baby Sassicaia and offers great value.
We have also landed new vintages of our beloved Terre Nere, wines made on the upper northern slopes of active Mount Etna. Terre Nere ‘continues to make compelling wines that set the standard for the Etna,’ says Antonio Gallioni ex-Wine Advocate. The red variety, Nerello Mascalese, ‘bears more than a passing resemblance to the Volnays of the Cote de Beaune’ with the power and tannins of Piedmont. The ever-popular Rosso is sold out (the 2012 arrives in two weeks); it showed the extreme quality of the 2011 Etna vintage and the single vineyards are profound. We have very small quantities of the extremely impressive Vigne Niche and Don Peppino, which is made from 140-year-old vines!