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Posts tagged ‘Argiolas’

Gung Hei Fat Choi aka Conversational Italian, Week 1

On Monday evenings I’m now taking Conversational Italian at City College because my Italian, is, well, rusty. Class was supposed to start tonight. City College, however, was closed for Lunar New Year. Which is great – although they could have maybe told their students about it? 

Anyway, I’ve decided that Monday nights are Italian Wine Night chez moi – and I started this week despite not having class. (Hey – I met a bunch of interesting people as we walked around the building trying to find an unlocked door!)

For Week 1, I opened a favorite: Argiolas Korem 2008

Korem 2008

Opaque ruby-red in color, this is a sophisticated and lightly tannic wine with layered aromas of wild berries, smoke, chocolate and a touch of savory spice. Alcohol by volume: 14.5% 60% Bovale Sardo, 20% Carignano and 20% Cannonau. It spent 12 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.

I should have cooked dinner instead of deciding I was too tired to eat. This is a wine that deserves good food to go along with it. Roast lamb. Even some lovely strong cheese, which sadly I didn’t have in the house. I might just have to make something fancy for the second half of the bottle….”

Cantine Argiolas

The wine highlight of our Sardegna trip was definitely the afternoon spent at the beautiful and newly-remodeled Cantine Argiolas. Courtyard of Cantine ArgiolasThe Argiolas family has worked diligently to become the leaders in Sardinian wine making and insist on using only native Sardinian vines: Nuragus and Vermentino for white wines and Cannonau, Monica, Carignano and Bovale Sardo for reds.

The history of Argiolas began in 1918, when Francesco Argiolas planted his first vineyards. But it was not until Antonio Argiolas, took the helm of the winery that a new way of running the business began. A man of great enthusiasm and long experience in viticulture, Antonio purchased new properties with the aim of setting up a modern estate. He wrote, “A good wine comes not only from technique. It comes also from humility, passion, love and care for the vineyards and their products. I received this philosophy as a gift of nature, and I gave it to my sons and to anyone who has joined me in this extraordinary adventure.”

At the end of the 70’s, Antonio’s sons Franco and Giuseppe Argiolas gradually began reorganizing and modernizing all aspects of the business, from the techniques used in the vineyards to technological innovation in the cellars. More recently, they’ve hired Giacomo Tachis, one of Italy’s leading oenologists.

I’ve been a fan of their wines for a number of years, and could not pass up the chance to visit in person. They were incredibly gracious – even with much of the hospitality group in Verona for VinItalia, we were welcomed for a tasting of nearly all of their wines (as well as the olive oil they now produce).

Argiolas tasting room

Their lovely tasting room

Some favorites:

Cerdeña: Cerdena This is an outstanding white wine, made from Vermentino plus small quantities of other local grapes. The wine, which has the name of the island in the Catalan language, is obtained by a soft pressing of grape. Cerdeña is fermented (both alcoholic and malolactic) in cask and is aged in barrique for 6-8 months followed by 6-8 months in bottle. The wine shows a soft golden yellow color. The nose reveals intense aromas of pineapple, kiwi, lychee, and vanilla. There’s a long finish with flavors of hazelnut, kiwi, banana and vanilla.
Food pairing suggestions: Cheese! Also roasted fish, or maybe stuffed pasta.

Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi: Turriga Their most famed wine, Turriga, is produced with grapes harvested in the Turriga vineyard in the Selgias area. Only Sardinian grapes, Cannonau, Carignano, Bovale Sardo and Malvasia Nera, are used for this wine. Production of about 1 Kg per vine, (about 2.2 lbs.) allow the creation of this important and very interesting red wine. Must is macerated in skins for about 16-18 days and the aging is done in new French barriques (Tronçais and Allier) for about 18 months. Rich garnet in color, the Turriga offers notes of crushed blueberries, black cherries, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco, roasted coffee and Mediterranean herbs. On the palate, this hearty red is concentrated, yet refined and elegant, framed by ripe, firm tannins and is full-bodied with a velvety mouth-feel.
Food pairing suggestions: Roasted duck, goose, or beef.

Korem: Korem Korem means “young girl” in the old language, and this wine is produced by the daughter of the family. It is a great wine, aged in barrique for 10-12 months followed by 6 months more in bottle. Intense ruby red in color with a powerful, lingering and well ­balanced nose. On the palate, this wine is velvety, full, harmonious, warm and well rounded. Tastes of minerals, grilled herbs, dark jammy fruit and French oak in a rich, full-bodied frame. The finish is very long with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum and blackcurrant.
Food pairing suggestions: First courses with meat-based sauces, spit-roasted suckling pig, grilled red meat, roast lamb, myrtle-flavoured hen, Sardinian sausage, mature Sardinian pecorino cheese.

Perdera: Perdera A excellent value, Perdera is made from 90% Monica, 5% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo grapes grown in the Argiolas’ Perdera vineyard. Malolactic fermentation in cement glass-lined tanks and development in small oak casks for 8-10 months. The nose exudes deep, ripe black and red berry fruits — blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry — as well as notes of earth and menthol. On the palate, it is earthy upfront, with black fruits following, and mellows into ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavors. It gets fuller and more complex as it sits in the glass. Medium to high acidity and equally medium ripe tannins make it well structured and well balanced.
Food pairing suggestions: Grilled lamb, pasta with meaty sauces, mushrooms, cheese.

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