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Sardinian Wine: Cagliari International Wine & Food Festival, Carignano del Sulcis, and More

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, just a hair behind Sicily. Despite the size, Sardinian wines aren't as visible on the international market like the ones from Sicily.

Sardinian Wine- Cagliari International Wine Food Festival

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Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, just a hair behind Sicily. Despite the size, Sardinian wines aren’t as visible on the international market like the ones from Sicily. This is a shame because there are some fantastic bottles being produced from both international and local grapes.

I went to Sardinia for the third installment of the Cagliari International Wine & Food Festival. It was my third time on the island in less than two years. With every visit I become fascinated by the quality level of the wines, from small producers and especially cooperatives.

Carignano del Sulcis

The visit included a day trip to Carignano del Sulcis to taste with the Consorzio Carignano del Sulcis. The grape Carignan is a big part of the blend in Corbières and Corbières Boutenac (Languedoc, France), wines that I appreciate. In Sulcis, Carignano stands on it’s own.




The vines in Carginano del Sulcis are old and often sit on their original rootstock. South Sardinia is one of the most southern grape growing regions in Europe, which means it’s hot. It’s the perfect climate for Carignan.

These are ripe wines with enough fruit and silkiness for novice drinkers while providing enough earthy, gamey notes and fine tannins for the more experienced palate. Better yet, these wines are available at fantastic prices. They make for a wonderful entry to the world of red Sardinian wine.

Cagliari International Wine & Food Festival

This was the third edition Cagliari Interntional Wine & Food Festival and my second time in attendance. It’s two days of food, wine, and fun in downtown Cagliari. The festival this year had several tables with different consorzios from the island. This made it easy to drink a lot of different wines from many producers in a short time period.

Here are some Sardinian wines that you should look out for.

Exotic Wine Travel’s Picks:

You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.

  • Sardus Pater, ‘Sardus Pater ‘Isola dei Nuraghi 2016

This blend was made for the 70th anniversary of Sardus Pater. The Sardus Pater ‘Sardus Pater’ is a blend of 70 percent Carignan, with the remaining portion of the blend being Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Monica. It’s the most complex red in the winery’s lineup. There are notes of dark berry, earth, tobacco, and pepper. It is full-bodied with silky tannins and a spicy finish. Score: 90/100

Sardus Pater Sardus Pater Isola Dei Nuraghi
  • Santadi, ‘Terre Brune’ Carignano del Sulcis Superiore 2015

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Santadi is one of Italy’s finest cooperatives when it comes to red wine. The Santadi ‘Terre Brune’ Carignano del Sulcis Superiore is the top wine of the estate. It is a true Mediterranean red with notes of pine, rosemary, dark cherry, and cedar. This is intense with ripe fruit on the palate. The palate is full bodied, layered, and complex. I’ve been hard on this wine in the past, but today it is shining. Score: 92/100

*I also highly recommend the Santadi ‘Rocca Rubia’ Carignano del Sulcis Riserva. It delivers a lot of wine at about a third of the price of the Terre Brune.

Santadi Terre Brune Carignano del Sulcis Superiore
  • Agricole Punica, Barrua 2015

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Agricole Punica is a joint venture between Santadi and Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) of Tuscany. This is a blend of 85% Carignano, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged 18 months in oak. There are notes of dark fruit, pepper, violets, meat, and garrigue. It has a round, silky, and refined palate. There are layers of flavor here with a spicy finish and fine grained tannins. Very good effort, I already liked it a lot but Charine’s enthusiasm for the wine pushed the score higher. Score: 94/100

Agricole Punica Barrua IGT
  • Dolianova, ‘Terresicci’ Isola dei Nuraghi 2013

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Dolianova is a high quality cooperative winery just 25 minutes from Cagliari. The Dolianova ‘Terresicci’ Isola dei Nuraghi is made from Barbera Sarda and aged in barrique for one year. This has a lot of oak but the fruit handles it well. There are notes of black olive, black plum, tobacco, and cigar. It really smells like a Mediterranean Merlot. It smells big and huge but it feels so light on the palate thanks to the high acidity and medium level of tannins. There’s a lot to like here. Score: 91/100

Dolianova Terresicci Barbera Sarda
  • Argiolas, ‘Iselis Bianco’ Isola dei Nuraghi 2017

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Argiolas is one of Sardinia’s benchmark producers. The top wine of the estate is the Turriga, which is a Cannonau dominate blend. It’s a excellent wine but I find the Argiolas ‘Iselis Bianco’ Isola dei Nuraghi to be very charming. It’s made from the grape Nasco and around 30% of this cuvée is barrel fermented.

There are notes of thyme, yogurt, lemon, and white pear. It really smells like a Mediterranean white. The wine has an oily, full body with a slightly bitter almond finish. A white that is more savory and less fruity, but well done. Score: 90/100

Argiolas Iselis Nasco
  • Audarya, ‘Nuracada’ Bovale 2017

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Audarya is a small, family winery with a success story. In 2014 they started bottling 30,000 bottles per year. That has now risen to over 300,000 bottles per year. The Audarya ‘Nuracada’ is made from the grape Bovale Sardo, known internationally as Graciano. It has notes of dark plum, cedar, pepper, and baking spice. This is full bodied and aged in barrique. The tannins are firm but under control for the grape. Super spicy finish. Score: 89/100

Audarya Nuracada Bovale
  • Antonella Corda, Nuragus di Cagliari 2018

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Antonella Corda is one of the up and coming names in Sardinian wine. Her wines are light-handed and show lots of finesse. The Antonella Corda Nuragus di Cagliari is made from the unique white wine grape Nuragus. Many examples of this grape tend to be neutral-tasting, but this is something different.

There are notes of lemon, sage, stone, and white peach. This is a really shiny wine with roundness on the palate. It’s full in body from the lees contact. There is a touch of bitter almond on the finish. Score: 89/100

Antonella Corda Nuragus di Cagliari
  • Ledda, Tenuta Matteu ‘Soliànu’ Vermentino di Gallura Superiore 2018

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Vermentino is Sardinia calling card. The finest examples we have tasted hail from the north, it’s the islands only DOCG named Vermentino di Gallura. The Ledda Tenuta Matteu ‘Soliànu’ Vermentino di Gallura Superiore is rich from lees contact. The wine has intense notes of pineapple, sage, seawater, and baked stones. For a fresh white this is full-bodied. It finishes with a citrusy acidity. Score: 90/100

Tenuta Matteu Solianu Vermentino di Gallura Superiore
  • Mesa, ‘Buio Buio’ Carignano del Sulcis Superiore 2016

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Cantina Mesa is another ambitious project in Carignano del Sulcis. The Mesa ‘Buio Buio’ Carignano del Sulcis Superiore is another classic example from the region. It has notes of dark fruit, thyme, earth, and baking spice. This is a full-bodied, yet silky red with fantastic wood integration. The tannins are sandy and the wine has a lingering, peppery finish. Score: 89+/100

Mesa Buio Buio Carignano del Sulcis
  • Muxurida, ‘Costa J Vacca’ Sardegna Semidano 2016

Semidano is a local grape that shows a lot of potential. Unfortunately it is a finicky grape to work with. The Muxurida ‘Costa J Vacca’ Sardegna Semidano is a fine example. It’s a developed white wine with chalk, dried pebble, yogurt, and white pear notes. This is more of a salty wine with some French flair and rich texture. Long and succulent finish. Score: 91/100

Muxurida Costa J Vacca Sardegna Semidano Superiore

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Thanks to APS Promotions, Consorzio Carignano del Sulcis, and Consorzio Vino Cagliari for hosting me. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.


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