What do you get when you combine Giacomo Tachis, Tenuta San Guido, Cantina Santadi and the unique terroir of Sardinia?
Answer: A joint venture called Agricola Punica and repeated Tre Bicchieri awards!
In 2002, Agricola Punica purchased 370 acres divided between two sites: Barrua and Narcao, located in the soutwest region of Sardinia. Even though the vineyards are situated in the DOC Carignano Del Sulcis area, the wines fall under the I.G.T. Appellation of Isola dei Nuraghi, a name that refers to the ancient stone buildings erected by the Nuragic civilization which shaped the island’s development until 238 B.C. when Sardinia was brought under the Roman Empire.
Today, Punica’s 65 hectares of vineyards lay inland from the coast and are comprised of Carignano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. Recently, I tasted the two newest releases from the winery at the Kobrand Tour d’Italia press event and I was greatly impressed.
The 2015 Punica Montessu is an intriguing blend of 60% Carignano, 10% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. Vinification takes place in stainless steel and then the wine is blended and aged in used French barrique for 12 months. 6 months bottle aging prior to release is completed to soften the blend. The wine is a deep purple color through and through. Aromas of flowers, crushed black fruits, melted licorice and vanilla comprise the bouquet of the wine. It’s intoxicating to smell. On the palate, the flavors echo the nose and the texture of the wine is silky and refined with round fruit, velvety tannins and just enough acidic punch to keep things fresh. Vibrant, juicy and medium to full bodied, the melted licorice finish is delicious. Dare I say this is better than the 2014 Sassicaia? Yes, I do dare. 92 points. About $25. Find this wine.
The 2013 Punica Barrua did not want to be shown up by it’s younger sibling and it was not. Barrua relies even more on Carignano and is 85% Carignano, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Vinified in stainless steel, Barrua is aged for 18 months in French barrique, 30% of which are new and then bottle aged for at least 12 months before release.
Deep purple to almost black in the glass, Barrua exudes aromas of licorice, crushed black fruits, blue flowers and sage. On the palate, this full bodied wine is concentrated with flavors of blackberry and cherry, new leather, licorice and toasted spice. Round and seductive, this “Super Sardinian” is unique and familiar at once. Long, long, smooth finish – there is nary a trace of tannins that compel you to drink this only with a meal, but it would simply excel with roasted lamb or steak dressed with Sardinian olive oil and rosemary. It’s delicious. 94 points. About $40-$45. Find this wine.
Let the hunt begin!