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Sella & Mosca La Cala Vermentino 2016
A versatile match for a wide array of appetizers and entrees, especially shellfish and seafood dishes.
A jewel in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is a rustic and enchantingly beautiful island with extreme geography and vinous diversity to tempt travelers and wine enthusiasts alike. Mr. Sella and Mr. Mosca fell in love with this land over a century ago and established Sella & Mosca, one of Italy's most renowned wine estates. As Sardinia's foremost wine producer, Sella & Mosca’s premium wines are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. In addition to native varieties such as Vermentino, Torbato and Cannonau, the winery has successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties, notably Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winery’s unique logo depicts a wine-pressing scene inspired by Egypt’s Old Kingdom. It is believed to be a stylized reproduction of a scene shown on a low relief in the mastaba of Mereruka tomb, Vizier of King Teti, in Saqqara, Egypt. The relief depicts five men using long poles to press the grapes contained in a sack, so that the juice filters through the fabric and falls into the jar below.
Sella & Mosca’s 1,600-acre estate, I Piani, constitutes the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy, covering more than 1,200 acres of vines. It is one of the largest wine estates in Europe. The climate is hot and dry. Inland vineyards cover mountainous terrain of granite, schist, sandstone, and limestone soil. The estate is surrounded by landscaped gardens and a profusion of flowering oleanders, maritime pines, palm trees and eucalyptus. The winery features multiple tasting rooms, an expertly designed enoteca and a fascinating exhibit showcasing replicas of archaeological finds unearthed during the building of the estate. Every year, especially during the summer months, visitors come from all over the world to enjoy the wines and soak in the spectacular property.
Winemaker, Giovanni Pinna, joined the estate in 2000. He holds a master’s degree in oenology and a PhD in microbiology. Passionate about Sardinian winemaking, Giovanni also teaching viticulture and publishes articles on the subject. Consultant winemaker, Giuseppe Caviola, is considered one of Italy’s most respected consultants, having traveled and worked throughout much of Italy. Giovanni and Giuseppe’s wines consistently garner critical acclaim and awards. The estate is owned by Terra Moretti Vino, an Italian company with strong ties in wine production, including the premium Franciacorta estate, Bellavista. The Moretti group continues to guide Sella & Mosca with the winery’s original founding principles of research, commitment, passion, and constant care.
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.