Italian dinner with Antonio Cabibi

This past Wednesday I attended another event at Paesano in Ann Arbor; Antonio Cabibi is the importer for Sardus Pater, a cooperative in Sardinia. He had some incredible wines to show, and I ordered a half-case. (Note that the first wine is not Antonio’s).

“Sardus Pater” means “Father of Sardinians” in the local language, and all of the wine names reflect some element of history or tradition as well. The Sardus Pater cooperative was formed just after World War II, and today has approximately 200 growers, with only 300 hectares between them – which means lots of individual care for each vine. Most of their property is on the small offshore island of Sant’Antioco, where they have a large stretch of pre-phylloxera vineyards dedicated to the Carignano del Sulcis grape (not related to the mainland Carignan).

20140423_180516Sant’Antioco is very windy, so the vines are head-trained – grown in low bushes, without any trellising. The vineyards also pick up some mineral and salty notes from the soil and the air.

Sciarpa Prosecco (NV) Veneto – $15

Mineral and lemon aromas – and it’s quite dry, probably the driest Prosecco I’ve had in a long time. Very nice and refreshing – it’s not trying to be Champagne.

Sardus Pater “Terre Fenicie” Vermentino di Sardegna (2012) Sardinia – $16

Vermentino is the major classic white grape of Sardinia. It definitely shows a more mineral and briny character when grown near the coast. I even picked up a hint of meatiness – chicken soup or roast turkey. This would be great with a seafood risotto, or chicken with lemons – and it shouldn’t be served cold! We drank it at about 55ºF and it was perfect. Highly recommended.

Sardus Pater “Foras” Cannonau di Sardegna (2011) Sardinia – $17

Cannonau is probably Sardinia’s most well-known native grape variety, although DNA testing indicates that it’s a close relative of Grenache. This was dark, but had a little bricky color, and there was a strong, heady aroma with raspberries and candied-apples.  Not quite as big on the palate, however, but it was clean and round – I find a lot of Cannonau to have an unpleasant muddy edge.

Sardus Pater “Nur” Carignano del Sulcis (2010) Sardinia – $16

This is produced in 100% stainless steel, then bottle aged for a few years before being released. The wine is very dark and purple, with blue and black fruit aromas and a hint of earth on the nose. It’s much bigger and rounder than the Cannonau, with rich fruit, some herbs, and good food-friendly acidity. The tannins are soft and this wine is perfect for drinking right now. Recommended.

Sardus Pater “Is Arenas” Carignano del Sulcis Riserva (2008) Sardinia – $25

The riserva bottling of Carignano del Sulcis sees a little oak. It’s even darker in color, and the20140423_191845 oak lends a little toastiness to the nose. This is even rounder and lusher, and has a very big mid-palate. The fruit is extremely pronounced, along with some medium tannins along the gums and on the finish. This is extraordinarily long. It’s drinkable now, but I’m curious about what another 5 years in the bottle will do.  I’ll have a tough decision to make when I pick up my wine later this week!



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