Santadi Vermentino Villa Solais 2015
Pair with fresh seafood and white meats.
The Sulcis peninsula, in the island’s southwest, is Sardinia’s most ancient area, geologically speaking; rich in archaeological sites and artifacts, its landscape offers an astonishing palette of variations and contrasts. Coastal sand dunes, gentle hills and inlets, narrow strips of flatland and inland mountains, rugged cliffs overhanging the sea interspersed with silky-smooth white beaches, pine trees, junipers and vineyards. In the heart of this unique region is a medieval town called Santadi, poised like a mirage between the dazzling white sand dunes of Porto Pino and the shady quiet forest of Pantaleo, where Sardinian deer tread freely among centuries-old oak trees, cork trees and holly oaks.
Well over half a century ago – it was 1960 – a winery was founded there and named after its extraordinary location: Cantina Santadi or more simply, Santadi. Santadi was based on a partnership of fine local growers, which made it deeply rooted in Sulcis terroir. After a decade and a half establishing a reputation for severe quality standards, Santadi partners elected Antonio Pilloni as their President.
The choice was a fortunate one and in 1975 Pilloni succeeded in bringing the Cantina to international prominence; he remains at the helm today. In the early 1980s, he called on Giacomo Tachis to consult for Santadi.
Santadi and its territory, in fact, are particularly close to Tachis’ heart. As he confessed to Michèle Shah in a Decanter interview: “I’m absolutely passionate about Vermentino [and Carignano]. There are still parts of Sardinia which I consider virgin land: it’s a spectacular island, especially the south, which is the true soul of the island.”
Santadi vineyards cover an impressive 1,235 acres (500 hectares) of prime, gently rolling terrain reaching right out to the sea; all within an 18-mile radius from the winery so that fruit can be conveyed in minimal time. The soil is unique, its sandy nature conducive to the survival of pre-Phylloxera rootstock. In the words of Raffaele Cani: “The parasite does attack the roots, producing small holes in them. These cavities, however, are immediately filled up by grains of sand that heal the wounds, as it were, allowing the plant to thrive
in spite of Phylloxera.”
Italian White Wine
The rolling hills and endless coastlines of Italy deliver a unique diversity of soils and climate to foster a number of regional specialties. With a multitude of indigenous varieties that thrive exclusively here, the selection of white wines offers a range of styles and flavors.
The most well-known white variety in Italy is of course Pinot Grigio. Typically found in the northern Italian regions, the light, fresh and easy-drinking options can be found in the Veneto region, while the richer, more complex styles come from Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige. These two northeast regions are also crafting delicions Pinot Bianco and a regional specialty, Friulano.
In Piedmont, two white regions shine. The crisp and zippy Gavi, made with a Cortese grape, and Arneis, a variety that produces a subtle by dry wine. In the Veneto, the Garganegna grape creates the wine of Soave, a zesty but medium-bodied wine full of rich stone fruit and floral notes.
Further south, you'll find the pretty and floral Falenghina, rich and tropical Grillo and zesty Greco. Head to Sicily to discover the delicious and complex Etna Biancos, made with the Carricante grape in the island's volcanic soils.