Sella & Mosca “La Cala” Vermentino Sardinia 2004. 12% alcohol. $10.99 at Beekman Wine.
I had a delightful lunch today; with the temps just under 90F it seemed balmy here, compared with some brutally hot days. We celebrated with an array of raw seafood and an absolutely delicious white wine. They claim Vermentino "La Cala" goes especially well with seafood because it has just a hint of salt; I tried to find that hint, elusive little thing, perhaps it was there, but I can't be sure. The seafood was just too tempting to do a scientific study.
Very pale straw yellow with greenish tints, pale hue, lovely aroma of lemons and limes and perhaps orange blossoms, delicate lemon/lime palate with just a hint of spice [and salt?], very dry with almost no sugar, light mouth feel, firm, well balanced acidity, quite a long finish. Great match with the seafood. We've had this wine several summers in the past, but I think the 2004 is the best I can remember. 4* +
I gotta tell you -- if you have to weedwhack when the temps are above 90F, this is the stuff to stoke your fires!
Joel Mitchell's notes; this was his wine of the month at $11.00; a great QPR:
Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean, is one of Europe’s most desirable holiday destinations. It boasts more than 1,800 km of coastline contoured by rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and glorious beaches. Sardinia’s history can be traced back thousands of years, and the island is rich in archaeological sites including dolmen stone relics and nuraghe - squat, round stone towers believed to be ancient forts. Originally settled by the Phoenicians, it was later occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Saracens, Pisans, Spanish, Austrians, and the Kingdom of Savoia. It finally becoming a self-governing region of Italy in 1948.
Wine has been made here since long before the Romans arrived in 238 BCE. By the 16th century, Sardinia was known as insuli vini (wine island). By the 20th century, it was exporting its powerful wines to France and “the continent” (as the islanders call the Italian mainland) to boost the weaker northern wines. High yields and bland but strong wines ruled until the 1980s, when lower yields and native character began to be emphasized by a handful of wineries. Today more than 70 estates produce quality wines.
The largest of these (and the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy) is Sella & Mosca, an historic estate situated in the northwest corner of Sardinia. The estate was begun by two Piedmontese businessmen in 1899. Messrs. Sella and Mosca are revered to this day for their prominent roles in the Risorgimento (Italy’s 19th-century unification movement). With 1600 acres, over 1200 acres of vines, and total production of 500,000 cases of wine, S&M was among the first to export the native white Vermentino wine while most producers were still selling in bulk. The property is now owned by Campari. Winemaking is supervised by Mario Consorte.
The La Cala brand is the ultimate definition of the Vermentino grape. It is named for a small, secluded cove on the edge of the estate. Few wines rival La Cala for its exceptional affinity with shellfish and seafood thanks to the very subtle presence of natural salinity in the wine. This Vermentino is elegant and supple with a fullness of flavor and good underlying acidity. Vinification is somewhat unusual in that after harvest, selected grape bunches undergo a brief, natural drying process before pressing.