Antonio Argiolas was concluding his wine tasting presentation at The Royce wine bar in Downtown Detroit. In the old days IGT would have had people shy away, thinking it was mere “table wine” until things changed dramatically in Italy. Now you are seeing IGT being flaunted not just in Tuscany, but all across Italy. The Argiolas family has worked hard to become a leader in Sardinian winemaking both in classic and prestige lines of wine in Sardinia and by using native Sardinian grapes. Giacomo Tachis, called the “Father of Super Tuscan Wines,” believed southern Sardinia possessed the “true soul of the island,” and helped create the prestige offerings of Argiolas. He helped them bottle wines under the “Isola del Nuraghi IGT” and aged wines in French barriques.
The penultimate wine of the evening was Argiolas Cardanera Carignano Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2021. Isola dei Nuraghi IGT wines may be red, white, or rosé and may apply to both native and varietal wines. According to the restrictions of the label, a wine may be a single varietal, the name of the grape must not appear on the front of the label. The Nuraghi are conical stone towers that dot the landscape often in key strategic and defensive positions. There are still about 7000 or so surviving structures on the island, but the that name is not recognizable to most people and there is move suggested to change the designation to “Sardegna IGT” perhaps in the future. This particular wine is pure Carignano and the vineyard is very close to the sea side of southern Sardinia. The soils are a combination of sand and clay, and there is no irrigation, but the humidity from the sea keeps the soil hydrated. Initial Fermentation is for fifteen days, followed by fifteen days of Maceration and all-in Stainless-Steel tanks. Malolactic Fermentation follows in the six months of aging in Concrete vats, followed by forty days in the bottle. A nice ruby red color, this wine offers notes of red fruit perfumed by the sea coast to me, a very unique nose ideal for basic dishes. On the palate tones of cherries, and plenty of assorted spices with complimentary tannins and the wine had a fresh and savory finish to it. I think it would be wonderful with Sea Bass or any meatier fish and of course red or white meats.
We finished the evening off with Argiolas Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2018. Turriga is the benchmark red wine of Sardinia, as conceived by the Argiolas family and Giacomo Tachis. The concept was to create a long aging wine using only Sardinian varietals. This is considered one of the highest rated wines of Sardinia. This wine is made from a fifteen-acre plot of The Turriga Vineyard on calcareous and rocky soil. The plot was planted in 1970 and the first vintage was 1988. The wine is a blend of eighty-five percent Cannonau, five percent Carignano, five percent Bovale Sardo and five percent Malvasia Nera (a varietal found in the Mediterranean area, used usually for blending). Initial Fermentation for about fifteen days, followed by about eighteen days of Maceration in Stainless-Steel tanks. Malolactic Fermentation occurs in a mix of brand-new French Oak barrels and Concrete vats for twenty months, followed by twelve months in the bottle. A very dark ruby red wine the offers note of dark fruits, exotic florals, and Mediterranean spices. On the palate deep tones of black cherry, cassis, tobacco, licorice and coffee with bold tight tannins and a nice long finish of fruit and coffee. While not being practical for a wine tasting, this wine could have used some decanting, because it was a bit different, but really tasty, this is the wine that I would have gone back for seconds, if I could have.