The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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{ } 51 grape varieties and diverse styles of wine, it's no wonder that Santa Margherita de- cided to acquire one of the most exciting wineries on the island: Cantina Mesa. CANTINA MESA Nestled about a mile from the sea in an idyllic valley near Sant'Anna Arresi, Cantina Mesa's snow-white walls reflect the bril - liant Sardinian sunlight. To the roving eye, they stand in stark contrast to the dark, thick macchia mediterranea shrubland in the hills beyond, which shelter the winery and its vineyards from the mistral winds. Founded in 2004 by Gavino Sanna, the estate comprises 70 hectares, with the majority of its vineyards located in the Carignano del Sulcis DOC. The winery, which produces 750,000 bottles annually, will import five of these wines into the United States: two Vermentino di Sarde - gna DOC whites (Primo Bianco; Giunco); one Cannonau di Sardegna DOC (Primo Scuro Rosso); and two Carignano del Sulcis DOC reds (Buio and Buio Buio). As with Cà Maiol, Cantina Mesa's winemaking is minimalist: Fermentation and maturation occur in stainless steel to spotlight the pure varietal character and terroir without oak (the exception is the Buio Buio Carignano Riserva, which ages for 12 months in a mix of used barriques and stainless steel). Sazama assures The SOMM Journal that the Marzotto family, who owns the Santa Margherita wine group, shares the same passion, pride, and commitment to the quality and reputation of Lugana and Sardinian wines as the Contato and Sanna families, who will remain involved with their respective wineries to ensure continuity. "With the addition of Cà Maiol and Cantina Mesa to the Santa Margherita portfolio, we look forward to elevating the profile and popularity of the two regions while providing geeky wine lovers with authentic new choices—flavorful and characterful wines your guests will love to discover," she says. CANTINA MESA Primo Bianco 2017 Vermentino di Sarde - gna DOC ($15) Straw yellow and snappy, this delicately aromatic, unoaked white offers up notes of white flowers, Mediter- ranean citrus, and freshly picked apricots. Soft acids lend elegance to the mouthfeel as vibrancy and tartness give lift to the zesty yellow-fruit flavors and savory mineral notes. A great-value island wine! Giunco 2017 Vermentino di Sardegna DOC ($21) If the Sardinian sun could liquify, it would be the color of this wine. Several golden hues deeper than the Primo, the nose is richer, too—complex and exotically perfumed with jasmine, mango, apricot, and chalk. Embedded in the generous, almost-oily mouthfeel are pi - quant flavors of ripe pineapple, grapefruit pith, white peach, and a thread of sea salt minerality that persist like the warmth of a summer day at Spiaggia della Dune. Primo Scuro 2016 Rosso Cannonau di Sardegna DOC ($15) Despite a luminous ruby color, this supple-yet-spirited Cannonau is precocious and punchy. It packs lots of sour cherry, pomegranate, red plum, and spicy Mediterranean herb flavors that fortify the paradoxically refined and juicy mouthfeel, so soothing with its warm and persistent vinous glow and lingering, savory red-fruit notes. Buio Buio 2015 Carignano del Sulcis DOC ($40) Produced from ungrafted, bush-trained vines in the extreme southwest Sulcis region, this Carignano bursts with wild-cherry and dark-berry aromas with hints of balsamic, Mediterra - nean scrub brush, rose hip, and warm spice. The palate is silky yet structured, the tannins refined and plush, the fruit bright and juicy, and the sandstone and sandy loam terroir manifested by dark, ear thy notes on a graceful, sustained finish. All wines are imported by Santa Margherita USA and are expected to become available in the U.S. market in June. The Cantina Mesa estate in the hills of Sardinia.

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