Under the Sardinian Sun: 2006 Santa Maria la Palma, Cagnulari, Alghero

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Okay I'm back from the world of wine politics, who knew there would be such a place. But I guess most people have a political-animal lurking in the back of their sub-conscious minds just waiting to be be unleashed upon other unsuspecting souls, who are not really looking for a fight [but will kick a few snobs, when needed]. They just want to sip their wine, have dinner with friends and share their thoughts with a thirsty world via their respective blogs.

Enough of that though, it's time to jump in the wine-wagon once more, take a spin and head over to a wonderful island just off the coast of Italy. It is called Sardinia [Sardegna] and it's the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The winery [Santa Maria la Palma] itself is located not too far from the port at Porto Torres near the northern end of the Sardinia. This Spanish transplant [Cagnulari] used to make this wine is grown in the Villa Assunta district, where the soil is chalk and said to be very beneficial to ensure perfect ripening, and like Malbec has found its ideal local in Argentina, the Cagnulari grape has found its ideal habitat in Alghero region.

This was my first encounter with this wine ever and I must say I was really impressed by its overall finesse and restrained power. It's really funny that I ran into this wine while I was in China last year and it made just now recall that famous Beach Boy's song, "I get Around" because like them I get bugged driving up down the same old strip, I want to go where the wines are hip". But no joking after nearly a week in China I was seriously “jonesing” for a nice glass of wine, so the wife and I stepped into a [very empty] Italian restaurant in Beijing. They had a fantastic wine-list and as I recall it really had some depth, but the prices were a little steep, so a look the WBG menu, is where this wine caught my eye. I thought to myself, I've never heard of it before and since I love to try to new wines, I thought I might as well give it go. Both my wife and I enjoyed every sip of this fantastic wine.

The Grape: Most folks believe that this grape most likely came over from Spain during the Spanish domination of the island, the Cagnulari is a black grape, producing wines that are a deep ruby color. The wines made from this grape typically display an elegant structure and have an unmistakable aroma, it will remind you of French Mouvedre.

Swirly, Sniffity-Sniff, Slurp: As I mentioned earlier I selected this wine off the WBG menu, the core was like a dark massive ruby. In went my fat half-Irish nose, where I found wonderful aromas that were both intense and seductive, notes of liquorice swirling about, really delightful. On the palate, it's a superb combination of baked cherry fruit and black berry fruits and a slight gamey character making it very distinct. But an ever-so pleasant drinking wine with a long lush finish and a I found it to be a fab food-pairing partner. By the way this wine weighed in at a mere 13% ABV [which surprised me], a fact which would make many of my wine-geek [they know who they are] friends very happy, that a wine this low in ABV has so much flavor and finesse.

Purchase and Price: I could not find a local state-side importer, distributor or retailer that carried this wine, but I did find a place called London Wine Deliveries that could ship it to the US, they sell this wine for about $25 USD for a 750ml bottle.

What's the Score: Yum-tastic is the first thought that came to mind and yes that is a real word [don't question it] I gave this wine 90 points on the CCWB hundred point scale. If this wine had more state-side availability, I may have given it a higher score. But I do think it's definitely a wine worth acquiring. If you have never tried a wine like this, I would recommend that you put this one on your wine shopping list, a wine to be on the look for and personally I would give it a swirl once more if the opportunity presented itself.

No other voices this time, as I couldn't find any others. I've not seen a review of this wine anywhere else on the web. So this does appear to be the very first review of this wine. If you happen to be visiting the area, stop in for a visit, they appear very welcoming of guests. The tasting room appears to be very modern and from the pictures has a very Napa-ish [of course it's a real word] appeal. The wine production facilities are quite immense, on par with many larger wineries here in the US. That's it for now, folks sip long and prosper, cheers!


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