Founded in the 12th century by the Genoese House of the Doria and conquered by the Spaniards in 1353, Alghero was one of the seven royal cities in Sardinia. In 1720, the Savoias of Piedmont took control of the city. Nevertheless, Alghero never lost its Catalan traditions and language. The street names here are even still in Catalan.
The Alghero D.O.C. was created in 1995 and has become one of the more varietally interesting areas, covering 40% of the wine production of Sardegna. This particular territory of the northwest has a great deal of rocky and sandy soil with arid afternoons and strong crossing winds that make the growing of vines very delicate and forces the producers to apply the “piede franco” or “alberello” agriculture (short bush-like vines).
One of the most recognized grapes of this D.O.C. is the Vermentino grape. Like most of Sardegna’s indigenous varietals, it is thought to be of Spanish origin. This grape is also found along the costal area of Liguria and Toscana, where the conditions are similarly arid, but on the coast of Sardegna the Vermentino are fleshier and more intense.
The principal red grape is Cannonau, once believed to be Granache, but the most recent research shows that since the Phoenicians this grape is indigenous to the island, making it one of the oldest grapes of the Mediterranean Sea and one a great source of antioxidant.
The most unknown grape award goes to the Monica, simple pretty name for a simpler grape that can produce wine with some characteristic flavors similar to the European Pinot Nero; a lighter body wine with some great earthy, zesty and spicy mineral.
For the cultured wine drinkers you will find Sella e Mosca wines beautifully structured and well balanced :
Vermentino di Gallura “Monteoro,” Sella & Mosca
Big and tangy, lots of sagey flavor. A powerful expression of the Gallura zone in northeastern Sardegna, where vermentino is the specialty.
Tanca Farrà, Alghero DOC
The most famous Sardinian red wine blend of Cannonau and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tanca Farrà is the dialect name of an area in the southeast part of the Sella e Mosca property that evokes the Catalan roots of Sardinian viticulture. Full bodied, dry, balanced and harmonious with elegantly soft tannin.
For the cultish wine snobs and sommeliers the Dettori winery is situated in Badde Nigolosu, in province of Sassari and the township of Sennori, producing wine in the biodynamic style using a variety of traditional grapes.
Grape: 100% Vermentino
The grapes were hand-harvested and, as always, transported in boxes inside a refrigerated Fiat 100 truck. The grapes were only de-stemmed and left to macerate for ten days at a controlled temperature. Decantation and maceration took place in small cement tanks until bottling in the month of May/June. The wine was not clarified, filtered or stabilized and hand-bottled. Once bottled the wine is left to develop in a cellar with a strictly controlled temperature.
Grape: 100% Cannonau
Tuderi is the name of the rock overhang in the vineyards, facing the sea.
The grapes were hand-harvested and transported in boxes inside the same truck.
The grapes were only de-stemmed and left to macerate for ten days at a controlled temperature. Decantation and maceration took place in small cement tanks until bottling in the month of May/June. The wine was not clarified, filtered or stabilized and bottled by hand. Once bottled, the wine is left to age in a cellar with a strictly controlled temperature.
Overall, this small port town is one of the best vacation spots with fantastic azure seas, amazing food (see Mario’s article) and wine to suit almost everybody’s palate.