Sardinian Spotlight: Cardedu

6/18/18 -

Sardinia is a region I have struggled with in my exploration of Italian wine. It isn't so much that varieties are unfamiliar (reference Cannanou, Bovale, Nasco, Naragus, and Monica), which is a common issue in Italy; rather that the wines often seem to lack a particular identity beyond the island's ability create very ripe, modern wine.  We haven't seen the same sort of profusion of artisanal producers from Sardinia that have come from Sicily in recent years. Many of the wines I've  encountered are well made but rarely translate a sense of place in the same way that the best producers do from Mount Etna, for instance.

The wines of Cardedu have struck me as something quite different, with more of a focus on the variety at hand rather than technique and polish. The estate is run by Sergio Loi and is located in Ogliastra on Sardinia’s east coast. The vines are planted only a few miles from the sea, where the soils have a high percentage of sand and decomposed pink granite. Loi shuns the use of pesticides and herbicides in his vineyards, farming the land without irrigation, fermenting all of his wines with native yeasts, and bottling unfined and unfiltered. 

These are frankly some of the most exciting wines I have tasted from Sardinia. The Vermentino is full and salty with refreshing acidity, the Monica is juicy, and wildly herbal with crunchy mineral tones, while the Cannonau is intense and smoky with musky fruit. There is a common thread through all of the wines, a clear and persistent lift and freshness that is uncommon in this corner of the world. Cardedu is a great place to start to pay more attention to Sardinia. 

-Andy Paynter

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