Tuesday nights are WineStudio nights at Protocol Wine Studio, who espouse the "True Wine Culture," wherein wine is placed in context, be it cultural, historical, social, or other. While they do one-off events, consisting of a single event, they also have educational programs that stretch for a month or so, meeting in the studio or via Twitter. During these longer happenings, several weeks are spent learning about a specific objective, be it a region or a style of wine. The most recent one, culminating in a grand tasting last night, was "The Forgotten Isles," featuring wines of Corsica and Sardinia. It was great fun to learn about these two islands that I had never really thought of in relation to wine, and even more fun to drink through the samples we were sent. The wines were from the monthly shipment that is the format of Le Metro Wine, unique offerings curated by Aaron Epstein.
From Le Metro Wine. Underground :
"Corsica and its neighbor Sardinia both have torrid histories, as different from each other as they are from their respective nations. The two islands have unique cultures and landscapes, and their idiosyncrasies impart on their wines a wildness that I have always found to be incredibly compelling. These are not quite the tropical isles you may be picturing: Corsica is densely forested; Sardinia, further south, is drier and more rugged. Flying overhead brings to mind a woodland that sprouted granite teeth.
Wine Tasting Notes:Sardinia has seeped gradually into the American wine consciousness over the past decade, but Corsica is now poised to explode on the scene thanks in large part to the passion and dedication of one purveyor: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. The three Corsican wines in this collection were provided by Kermit’s San Diego representative – my friend Kate MacWilliamson – as were this month’s food pairing suggestions. Kate’s palate is as exceptional as she is lovely, and her enthusiasm for these wines is matched only by her knowledge of them.
The six bottles in this collection represent two islands and three different grape varieties: Vermentino (white), Sciacarellu (rosé), and Cannanau (red). All of them are sure to surprise you. Even if you weren’t able to venture as far from home this summer as you had hoped, this month Le Metro takes you on a true adventure."
Yves Leccia 2011 Patrimonio Blanc: 100% Vermentino; organic farming; stainless steel fermentation and ageing; light filtration; palest straw color; coconut, citrus and floral aromas; bright and clean acidity; faint melon flavor; surprisingly sumptuous mouthfeel into a citrus finish; cork closure; 13.5% ABV; SRP $35
Pedra Majore 2011 Hysony Vermentino di Gallura Superiore: 100% Vermentino grown at 1,300 feet above sea-level; no oak, no malolactic fermentation; 2,200 cases produced; palest straw color; citrus blossom aroma; honeyed stone fruit, melon, and citrus flavors; medium mouthfeel into shorter citrus finish; cork closure; 13.5% ABV; SRP $25
Domaine de Marquiliani 2012 Rosé de Sciaccarellu: 92% Sciaccarellu, 8% Syrah; vines almost 50 years old; sustainably farmed; fermented in stainless steel; no malolactic fermentation; palest coral pink, nearly orange; floral nose; melon with subtle tartness; crisp and nicely balanced; cork closure; 13% ABV; SRP $28
Domain Comte Abbatucci 2012 Cuvée Faustine Ajaccio Rosé: biodynamic, 20 year old vines; 100% Sciaccarellu; vinified in stainless steel; biodynamic; poly-culture ecosystem with herds of sheep; light pink, almost orange in color; melon, grass and citrus notes; bright acid into a citrus finish; cork closure; 13% ABV; SRP $36
Giuseppe Sedilesu 2009 S'Annada Cannonau di Sardegna: 100% Cannonau; Maturation: 12 months in barrels; not filtered; bottle aged for at least 3 months; production of 20.000 bottles; ruby red; earthy dark fruit and slightly barnyardy aromas; dark cherry and vegetal flavors; medium mouthfeel into slightly tannic finish; cork closure; 13.5%ABV; SRP $30
Tenuta Dettori 2005 Tuderi Vineyard: 100% Cannonau, beautiful dark garnet with mahogany edge; earthy dark cherry and plum nose; dark cherry, green pepper, and vanilla flavors; beautiful balance; slight tannins on lush finish; produced in cement and glass; annual production: 3,500 – 5,000 bottles; cork closure; 14.5% ABV; SRP $42
The take-away is that, while not inexpensive, if you can find them, check out the wines of Corsica and Sardinia. Unlike anything their mainland counterparts in France or Italy are doing, these are unique, flavorful wines that reflect their island heritage.
Disclaimer: These wines were provided for review purposes.
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- Sardinia wine route: top 10 guide (theguardian.com)