Thursday, December 24, 2015
Two Treasures of Sardinia, 'Aragosta Vermentino and Le Bombardi Cannonau' by Philip S. Kampe
All vineyards have history.
Catina Santa Maria La Palma is no different.
The land near the cove between the Gulf of Alghero and the Bay of Porto Conte is endless. It kisses the sea daily, as the sun shines on the cooperative and its 1750 acres. Over one hundred winemakers joined forces in 1959 to create Santa Maria La Palma Winery. Today, the winery is bustling with new technology paired with traditional winemaking. The past, the present and the future thrive at this vineyard in Sardinia.
There are numerous wines produced at the Catina, but, two that stood out and are widely distributed in the U.S, are an amazing Vermentino and a Cannonau. Both wines are imported and distributed by AJO Imports and M.S.Walker.
Growing up in New Orleans and seeing a bright shrimp on the label of a wine bottle meant one thing to me.
So, $13 later, I owned a bottle of 2014 ARAGOSTA Vermentino di Sardegna. Now, it was time to purchase shrimp and see if the wine label stands up to its food destiny. That task was easy, as a fishmonger has a small shop is in my neighborhood. In fact, the shop carries shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, only miles from where I grew up.
I normally saute the shrimp in garlic, butter and a drop of wine, Aragosta, in this case.
The process is quick and within minutes, it was time to pair the wine with the shrimp. As I sampled the wine first, a nearly citric flavor of a clementine exploded in my mouth, followed by an asian pear infusion. Minerality, freshness and balance found its way to the shrimp, making the pairing as close as can be to a 'match made in heaven'.
I am a true lover of the Grernache grape, a grape similar to Cannonau. It is one of the red grapes that often is drunk young. Cantina Santa Maria La Palma makes a popular, inexpensive Cannonau ($9) that is appealing on the palate, has few tannins and low acidity.
It screams for food, just like a Chianti screams for pizza.
The raspberry, pepper aroma transfers to the palate, a feat that is hard to accomplish. The medium body makes this wine a candidate for pasta with red sauce, dark poultry, pork chops and aged cheeses.
In fact, Le Bombardi Cannanau may just be the new pizza wine for me.
Are you ready to try it?
Philip S. Kampe