Following The Sun

Cantina Canu
Bibi 2020
Cannonau di Sardegna Rosato DOC
Hand harvested
Luogosanto, Sassari, Sardegna, Italy
Family winery; Co-founder: Carla Cualbu

Pretty dancing pink coral. Giving it a sniff and raspberries & light grapefruit breezing in along with salt, rained on granite on a spring day, and a bit of smoke or peat. Sip and zing! That sure wakes up my mouth with lovely raspberries, tiny wild strawberries, light citrus mix twang, a lick of granite, and a smoke hint on the back mixed with salt. As time goes by it’s lively, fresh and goes smooth only to have the zing zip awakened again.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: surprisingly delightful…ramps all the flavors up a notch

I wonder if I hold this wine glass up to my ear, can I hear the ocean because this rosé sure takes me right to a sun drenched beach. Oh Bibi, you are sweeping me right through a fast spring and then a let’s party summer vibe! So glad I waited to try you last out of the 3 bottles of nicknames (previous ones: Deispanta & Porteddu). Evidently Carla’s sister Clara was dubbed this as a tot since it was the first word to pop out of her mouth. Such an infectiously joyful sound when you say it over and over. Just try it! Or just grab another glass and join me following the sun. ☀️

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Good Connections

Cantina Canu
Porteddu 2020
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC
Hand harvested
Luogosanto, Sassari, Sardegna, Italy
Family winery; Co-founder: Carla Cualbu

Deep ruby shining glass. Ooh breathing in and it’s creamy smooth. There’s plums, cherries, and a delightful fruit tree blossoms, next up are raspberries, strawberries, and hmmm a little passion fruit. First sip and it’s so inviting…cherries, raspberries, ripe strawberries, plums & prunes and for that matter of fact dried cherries…can you dry a raspberry? (just checked and evidently you can freeze dry them.) Back to the rest of the flavors, there’s some earth but just like a pinch and a little bit of black olive pit. This is so smooth and makes me soooo happy

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: sharpens everything

Totally enchanted by my 2nd Cantina Canu wine, but then I’m sure you could tell from what I wrote above. As with “Deispanta”, this is another bottle that carries a family nickname. Don’t even bother trying to Google Translate “Porteddu”, it’s not going to get you anywhere, but this is what I’ve found from their IG. In Sardinian, it means a connection between places or locales, and in their own words and interpretation “We like to think that the Porteddu family have been our “connection” with the project we are carrying out today, because, having fallen in love with Gallura several years ago, they have laid the roots of a dream that today has resumed life thanks to the new generation.” For me…this glass I’m staring into is a connection between my senses and their passion. Thank you for letting us all in on your dream. ❤️🍷

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What’s In A Nickname?

Cantina Canu
Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Superiore
Hand harvested
Luogosanto, Sassari, Sardegna, Italy
Family winery; Co-founder: Carla Cualbu

Starlight with green shimmers. Scents of pears, salt floats in, and then there are lilacs, squeeze of lemon & lime, a bundle of rosemary & thyme, and a granitey gravelly touch. Take a sip and it’s delightfully lemony & limey along with a citrus zest, kumquat-lite, slice of pear, and a little more of that granite which turns to sea breeze. Just an ever so welcome easy drinker that’s beckoning me to relax with another glass while basking in the sun.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: eh makes it a little tart

What’s in a name or a nickname for that matter. As a child, somehow I ended up with “Chipmunk Cheeks”. Later as an adult, a friend decided to label me “Shifty” which still makes me 🤔. Anyway, Cantina Canu is a family winery that respects traditions and the generations that came before them and show it in the wine names like Deispanta. Carla’s great-great- grandfather’s nickname was Ispànta (wonderment) since he was quite the amazing fighter of a style I have never heard of before. “S’istrumpa” which means “thrown on the ground” is a traditional style of Sardinian wrestling, that’s a blend of strength and balance. The fighters face each other and start what looks like a bear hug with one arm over a shoulder and the other under an armpit, the tussle until one ends up on the ground with the other on top. Well, now I know when in Sardinia, an embrace might not always be what you expect. 🤼‍♂️

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Memories of Lives, Memories of Vines

Memorie di Vite 2018
Red Wine
100% Carignano
Arborea, Sardegna, Italy
Low intervention, bush-trained vines, indigenous yeast, unfined and unfiltered
Winemaking couple: Piero Cella and Luciana Baso

Deep ruby with garnet rim. Roses bloom before your nose and as it opens butterfly lilacs, salt/sea breeze, figs, plums, cherries, and balsamic. Ok, maybe I’m crazy but it reminds me a little or Chef Stefano Baldantoni’s balsamic reduction which I am so in love with and could eat a vat. Tasting tart cherry mixed with that lovely balsamic reduction. There’s also blood orange zest, dried figs, dried oregano, salt, dates, and a dark, deep velvety richness. As it continues to grow…sweet, fragrant, smooth fine silk that’s not a princess…it’s a regal, rich, well dressed queen that in the end is draped in heavy tapestry garments.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: sweet and smooth

When we can travel again, my frequent flier points are definitely leaning toward Italy (sorry Spain even though you know how much I love you). How many Sardinian wines (this is my 4th Quartomoro) have I fallen for and this 100% Carignano really pulls me. I have a huge thing for Carignano from being at times a blending grape to an elevation and respect of a solo, which is what Piero and Luciana are doing with their Memorie di Vite project. This grape is so fragrant and has such depth when grown and treated right. Quartomoro’s ungrafted pre filloxera vineyard (in Sulcis) was originally planted back in 1967 (before I was born) by a family friend and has zero chemicals messing with it. What a exquisite expression they’ve managed to capture through love and care of this historic, native grape. Ok, that does it. I’m changing my Babbel subscription back to Italian, and when the time comes my bags will be packed. Ciao!

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Frizzante sui Lieviti
100% Vermentino
Arborea, Sardegna, Italy
Low intervention, guyot training, unfined and unfiltered
Winemaking couple: Piero Cella and Luciana Baso

Hazy golden bubbly with pretty sediment just waiting for you at the base. Pop that cap and come on lemon! You know those light layered wafer cookies that has lemon cream between each layer. Also some tangerine and dainty white flowers. Lift and swig and more lemon on my tongue with a tad of grapefruit, apple, pinch of salt, and a savory mix of spices: sage, thyme rosemary, and a toasty cinnamon thing. It’s crispy and bouncy, and I’m just realizing there’s reminders of Orangina. Fabulous sparkler and IPA lovers would have fun with it too. Best of both worlds

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: no complaints here

Quartomoro has been creating this beauty since 2012. Almost feels like an ancient science experiment, but then so do most wines when you really think about it. From what I read, they take last year’s non bubbly Vermentino (on the lees) and re-ferment the dry base in the bottle and then add the next year’s freshly crushed juice, skin, seed mixture (the must) and the ancestral method works it’s magic. Abracadabra! You have this unfined, unfiltered and non vintage bottle. I’m guessing, I’m drinking a mix of 2018 and 2019, due to the harvests being in September, but feel free to let me know if I’m wrong. It’s nice to think I’m sipping something from before all this 2020 mess. Here’s again to 2021! Raise that glass of frizzante and welcome this New Year in with a big smooch!

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Oh, You Lovely Old Indigenous Grape You

Òrriu di Sardegna 2018
sulle bucce
100% Vernaccia di Oristano
Arborea, Sardegna, Italy
Low intervention, dry farmed, guyot training
Winemaking couple: Piero Cella and Luciana Baso

Beautiful gold like the the ring I’d like on my finger. Sniffing mandarin orange, lemon zest, lilac, salt, and also hints of grapefruit and honeysuckle blossoms. Tasting lots of citrus, some darkness of deep melon, honey, vanilla, flowers and of course almond. This is a beautiful rich gift wrapped up in a bow with a cork on top.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: NOPE! Makes it bitter

Oh, you lovely old indigenous grape you, Vernaccia di Oristano. I swear Sardinia produces some of the most beautiful grapes. Why the heck haven’t I visited there yet? Just you wait, once this pandemic is under control, my bags are packed. So, I’m reading there’s a tale that if you drink a good bit of Vernaccia, it will ward off malaria. Definitely curious to see who came up with that, how tipsy they were, and how much of it is true, because hey you never know. As I wrote in my post “Genie in a Bottle” on the rare grape Granazza (Granatza), some people mistake that grape for Vernaccia di Oristano. There are similarities, but each is an entirely different beast. Also Piero Cella and Luciana Baso’s creation is of a more modern style Vernaccia and lighter than the old more traditional oxidized and sherry-like styles. They let that grape sing! It’s rich, fresh, and full of life! Cheers!

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Harmonic Symphony

Òrriu Cannonau di Sardegna 2018
100% Cannonau
Arborea, Sardegna, Italy
Low intervention, dry farmed, guyot training
Winemaking couple: Piero Cella and Luciana Baso

Vibrant ruby glory! When the cork came out it was a cloud of vanilla, dark depth, flowers, forest and cherries of course. Sweet yet tangy fragrance makes me think of ponzu sauce.  Dark and rich flavors of plum, cherries, blueberries, dried figs, and a pinch of Sumac.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Plum turns to sweet prune. Just smooth

A little bird sat on my shoulder and whispered, “Rumor has it that this is the best Cannonau right now!” My feathered friend is definitely onto something. Even though this is a young vineyard (located in the Marrubiu vineyard) the pulverized volacnic/granite enrichment of the soil brings out the best of these grapes. As Piero Cella says, “Our goal is always to make a harmonic symphony from the grapes and to put that into our bottles, at the same time with the real essence of our island.” Harmonic symphony is a very lovely way to put it. It’s as graceful and rich as their wine…and guess what? I have two more of their bottles in the mix to try in the near future. It’s going to be a fun week!

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Genie in a Bottle

Cantina Orgosa di Musina Giuseppe
Granazza (Granatza – Sardinian spelling)
Orgosolo, Nuoro, Sardinia, Italy
Natural, organic, biodynamic
Winemaker: Giuseppe Musina

Vibrant copper orange color. Hmm maybe this is a new hair color for me. Really fresh scents of orange and orange peels, and in particular mandarins, then salt, smoke, and back to orange blossoms…ok we’re going with a whole lot of orange here. Like walking through a grove in the morning as the dew is still glistening on the grass and the fragrance of the fruit and flowers surround you. Mmmm this tastes smooth yet zippy, light, and fresh. Here comes that orange again, mandarin, tangerine, apricot, and a splash of peach. There’s also good old salt, white pepper, and almond.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: maybe a little more tangy but doesn’t change much

Here’s another wonderful wine by Giuseppe Musina. Never fails and as always love the depiction of one of the infamous local murals on the label. You can read more about them on my earlier post

The lovely grape living in this bottle like a genie is Granazza (Granatza), and is an ancient and somewhat rare white grape variety found around the town of Mamoiada in the centre of Sardinia. Some people believe it to be a synonym of Nuragus, and others mistake it for Vernaccia di Oristano. From what I’m finding, Giuseppe (I believe in 2014) lost a few stumps due to frost and other elements, but didn’t loose heart, and replanted with Granazza. I see those lost vines as a win for him as I sit here sipping this beautiful glass.

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Cantina Argiolas
Turriga 2011
Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
Sardegna Italy
Cannonau (mostly) with Carignano, Bovale Sardo, Malvasia Nera

Hesitantly opened back in 2018. One of my favorites, and I didn’t know when I would get it again. From what I remember of that night (and my sparse notes), it was deep, dreamy, dark fruit, some herbal thing like fennel, and as it grew chocolate/coffee. Elegant and strong and just filled with love. Was a gift from my dear, but here is the problematic part, did he get it here or was it a bottle he brought me back from Basel? Shhh… don’t tell him I can’t sort where my present came from. I swear my brain has been so fried memory-wise since lockdown, and I didn’t take a picture of the back of the bottle. It may have come from Paul Ullrich AG in Basel or it could have come from D.O.C. Wine Shop. It’s a coin toss at this point, so giving both a nod of credit. Either way, still one of the Sardinian wines I ABSOLUTELY LOVE! Oh, and this is from the pre-Cheez-It’s era.

Cantina Argiolas

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Honeysuckle Love

Cantina Su’entu
Su’aro 2018
Bianco blend of native grapes
Marmilla IGT
Sardegna Italy

A bright bold glass of gold. At first whiff there’s citrus, like tangerine and lemon with a splash of grapefruit. As it goes on, out comes hibiscus, honeysuckle,  rich melon, apricot, a dash of salt, and just deep beautiful flowers…whew that’s a lot and we haven’t even had a first sip. Here we go! Luscious melon and honey and all sorts flowers, a little orange peel tang, and a nice touch of salt.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: makes the honeysuckle and melon go wild. Where’s the prosciutto?

Here’s another bit of smooth sweetness with Sarah Vaughan, Honeysuckle Rose

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