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Sella & Mosca La Cala Vermentino 2009
Sella & Mosca, which celebrated its centennial in 1999, was founded by Messrs. Sella and Mosca, two Piedmontese businessmen revered to this day for their prominent roles in the Risorgimento (Italy's 19th-century unification movement). Today, the property is owned by Campari.
As Sardinia's foremost wine producer, Sella & Mosca is renowned for premium wines made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. In addition to native varieties such as Vermentino and Cannonau, the winery has successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties, notably Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hailed for centuries as a Mediterranean vine-growing paradise, multiple cultures over many centuries have ruled the large island of Sardinia. Set in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Phonoecians, Ancient Rome, and subsequently the Byzantines, Arabs and Catalans have all staked a claim on the island at some point in history. Along the way, these inhabitants transported many of their homeland’s prized vines and today Sardinia’s modern-day indigenous grape varieties claim multiple origins. Sardinia’s most important red grapes—namely Cannonau (a synonym for Grenache) and Carignan—are actually of Spanish origin.
Vermentino, a prolific Mediterranean variety, is the island’s star white. Vermentino has a stronghold the Languedoc region of France as well as Italy’s western and coastal regions, namely Liguria (where it is called Pigato), Piedmont (where it is called Favorita) and in Tuscany, where it goes by the name, Vermentino. The best Vermentino, in arguably all of the Mediterranean, grows in Sardinia's northeastern region of Gallura where its vines struggle to dig roots deep down into north-facing slopes of granitic soils. These Vermentino vines produce highly aromatic, full and concentrated whites of unparalleled balance.
Today aside from its dedication to viticulture, Sardinia remains committed to maintaining its natural farmlands, bucolic plains of grazing sheep and perhaps most of all, its sandy, sunny, Mediterranean beaches.
A fantastic, aromatic white grape whose best wines come from a northeastern corner of Sardinia in a region called Gallura. Vermentino di Gallura DOCG, despite its light body, can be decidedly complex. Vermentino also enjoys success in Tuscany and in lesser proportions, grows on the island of Corsica.
In the Glass
Common flavors associated with this wine include pear, white peach, grapefruit, lime zest, fresh almond and crushed rocks. It is dry but fruity with a bright finish. Sardinian producers like to pick early to retain lively acidity but a fuller style has also become popular.
Vermentino does well paired with fresh and simple seafood dishes, pesto, grilled fennel and light appetizers.
Vermentino is thought to be genetically identical to Ligurian’s Pigato grape and Piedmont's Favorita. It comprises a large proportion of the whites in southern France, namely Provence, where it is called Rolle. If you're a fan of Sauvignon blanc, Albariño or Grüner Veltliner, a Vermentino in any of its guises, would be a great pick for you.