Cantine Argiolas. Sardinia, Italy.
Argiolas sits in the hills above the port city of Cagliari, Sardinia, in the south of that Mediterranean island. Currently the cantine is run by the third generation of the Argiolas family. Still today, the Argiolases focus on making traditional wines from traditional Sardinian grape varietals. They've been a mainstay in this shop for years.
This fall we've decided more folks should join in the fun. And what better way to find them? They're delightful food wines, wines that show up quietly and mingle with a variety of guests. Engaging, unpretentious wines that each bring something special to the table.
'Costamolino" Vermentino di Sardegna ($14) Vermentino is one of my favorite versatile food wines. In general, it's sort of a go-to, please-everyone sort of choice when I'm pairing for a group. The good ones, like this lively offering from Argiolas, strike a balance between plump fruit and racy acidity. Tropical and citrus flavors combine here with a touch of herbal aromatics to form a delightful option for the melange of fall feast flavors.
"Perdera" Monica di Sardegna ($14) Monica isn't a grape you likely know or care much about. Well maybe you should. It's indigenous to Sardinia, another one of these fond little treasures we find in far flung corners of Europe. The varietal wine "Perdera" from Argiolas is intensely fresh, a lightheartedness belied only by the more brooding dark cherry, licorice and tobacco notes lurking beneath. It's a little spicey, a little fruity, a little rustic. Great choice for a variety of palates.
"Costera" Cannonau di Sardegna ($18) The grape has many names—Garnacha, Grenache, etc.—but is known only as Cannonau on the island of Sardinia. It's commonly accepted that this varietal originated in Spain, but lately there's some speculation that it actually comes from our little hero island. Here it's expressed with a perfectly bright red-fruitiness and a fine silky texture. It's less rustic than the Monica and more sumptuous too. A touch of spice offsets the hint of sweetness, all finally bound together with a lingering, minty finish.