Rare Wines. Flying high over Sicily and Sardinia

May 11 2022, 15:04 | by Gambero Rosso
Our journey to the discovery of Rare Wines kicks off. Every week, we will talk about two wines from small quality productions. This time we will hit the two biggest Italian islands at high altitude: Etna and Mamoiada, two amazing territories. What do they have in common? Only the grape variety

Beyond the limit. High-altitude viticulture is no longer tomorrow's opportunity, but today's challenge. The desertification process is becoming more and more accentuated and the temperatures are increasing, thus forcing producers to move the production to higher altitudes, reaching latitudes that were unthinkable only a few years ago. And in this race upwards, long-forgotten yet valuable plots of land have been rediscovered. This is the case of the two artisan realities that we are telling you about today.

Let's leave seaside postcards of Sardinia and Sicily behind to get to know uncommon vineyards. On the one hand, old Grenache saplings in Mamoiada, located above 600 meters. On the other hand, we reach the north-eastern slope of Etna at 1200 meters, among strips of land on volcanic sandy soils. Two wineries that have decided to dedicate the whole production to the crus and to the high-altitude vineyards. In Sardinia they talk about Sas ghiradas, while the contrada is Mount Etna’s geographical unit.

Rare wines in Sicily and Sardinia: two labels to discover

Garaunele 1920 2020

Cantina Vinzas Artas
Sardinia
red
Score: 
94
/100
VINEYARD|There are crus, the lieu-dit, the geographical units as well as additional geographical mentions. And then there is sas ghiradas. Yes, that's right: even the village of Mamoiada, through the Mamojà producers association, has created its own classification of vineyards, especially to enhance the decade-old historical plots. 1920 Ghirada Garaunele is even something more. Small section of the Garaunele, this vineyard was planted little more than a century ago and the name 1920 is there to prove it. We are talking about one hectare at 650 meters above sea level, cultivated exclusively with bush-trained Cannonau grapes. Soil rich in skeleton, resulting from the granite disintegration and a unique microclimate, with strong thermal excursions that influence the grapes and the glass....
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1200 metri 2019

Sciara
Sicily
red
Score: 
93
/100
VINEYARD|You look around and you think that you have landed on Mars. Higher up there is only lava, and, rarely, some plants. We are on Mount Etna, above Bronte and west of Randazzo. The panorama is wide, to say the least, and ranges from the Nebrodi Mountains to the volcanic cone. Located at 1200 meters above sea level, the Nave contrada - volcano's unit of measurement -features a sandier soil than elsewhere, also thanks to the constant whiffs of mountain air. "In the first year of production, I counted 72 eruptions,"says Stef Yim. The cool Ripiddu provides the backdrop to ungrafted Grenache (yes, you read that right) saplings, of which 60% are over 100 years old. The yields are extremely low: in...
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