Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spotlight on: Agricola Punica

Last September I published a piece called “The Wild Wines of Sardinia,” which was inspired by a number of producers and wines that had impressed me from the region. Fast-forward, a year later, and one of those producers has become a staple of the Italian section of my cellar; Agricola Punica.

Carignano grapes on the vine
Agricola Punica is a collaboration of Giacomo Tachis, Tenuta San Guido and Sardinian producer Cantina di Santadi, producing Carignano-based wines in the Sulcis region of Southern Sardinia. Sardinia is an island located 125 miles off the east coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a region of Italy that has a very unique climate. In the southwest corner of the Island, it is a perfect environment for the Carignano vine. The winter is mild and wet while the summers are hot and dry, with the scirocco (African winds) blowing across the Sardinian Sea. This mixed with the baking sun allows Carignano to achieve the necessary level of ripeness.

 However, it’s not just the ripe concentration that makes these wines so exciting; instead it’s the amazing balance of concentration and acidity, combined with expert winemaking, which creates wines of elegance and style with a true Italian flair. Both wines are exciting and, sometimes, downright sexy. 

The unique and very affordable Montessu continues to amaze me for the price compared to what’s in the bottle. In the $20 - $25 range, this is a bottle that should be in every Italian wine lover’s cellar. However, it’s the Barrua that has continued to turn my head at each tasting. The Barrua is a single vineyard bottle that’s 85% Carignano with a mix of Cabernet and Merlot. It’s rich, yet spicy, elegant and balanced, with a structure that begs for 3 - 5 years in the cellar.

On to the notes:

2008 Agricola Punica Barrua – The nose showed deep, dark red and blue fruits with hints of herbs. On the palate, it was medium-bodied with great concentration balanced by zesty acidity with red currant and spice. The tannins were present but beautifully integrated with its core of ripe fruit. The finish was long and staining to the palate, as blue and black berry flavors slowly faded away. (93 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

2008 Agricola Punica Montessu – The nose showed intense ripe berries, sweet spices and field herbs. On the palate, it was velvety smooth with mouthwatering acidity and dark brambly fruits. The finish was long yet refreshing. This wine would make a great accompaniment to braised meats and heavy meat sauces. (91 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

Reference tools:
The official website of Agricola Punica
Agricola Punica at Kobrand Wine and Spirits

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