There is an extraordinary wine country hiding in plain sight in Europe. Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearics each fly different flags over their government buildings, but are inextricably linked in culture and history across the millenia. Though their wines show characteristics of their respective suzerains, there are unmistakable qualities that unite them: energy, freshness, and the saline bite that can only come from seaside vineyards. The grape names here like Cannonau, Malvoisie, and Nieullicio may seem strange, but they may blossom into approachability when you learn that these are merely local names for Grenache, Vermentino, and Sangiovese respectively. But , there is ample evidence to suggest that these islands may be the point of origin for these kings of the Mediterranean!
Like many of Europe's more marginalized regions, the Western Mediterranean Islands went through a long period in the 20th century of bulk wine production, poor vineyard practices, and homogenization of grape plantings. The tide began to turn in the 1980s when classic estates like Sardinia's Argiolas and Corsica's Leccia (both of which are represented this month!) thrust their wines into the international consciousness with a combination of delicious & unique juice with sheer force of will. Today, these beautiful dots of land in the grand Mediterranean offer not just some of the most exceptional recreational beaches and mountains in the world, but a thrilling menu of wines inseparable from the geological and maritime forces that shaped them.
Argiolas Korem 2015
Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Sardinia, Italy. Blend of Bovale Sardo (Graciano), Cannonau (Grenache), and Carignano (Carignan).
Keywords: Muscular, Decantable, Savory.
Yves Leccia Patrimonio Blanc 2018
Patrimonio AOC, Corsica, France. Varietal Vermentino.
Keywords: Zesty, Mineral, Saline.
Mesquida Mora Sincronia Tinto 2018
Pla i Llevant DO, Mallorca, Spain. Blend of Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.
Keywords: Chillable, Fresh, Round.