On a recent trip to Italy, Loris Scagliarini, president, and John Dawdy, vice-president of WineCountry.IT, toured major wineries in Sardinia, a region that has seen the quality and appreciation of its wines grow steadily in these last ten years. This trend was recently attested once more by the prizes and recognition that its wines received at the latest Vinitaly, the major wine world event, in Verona, Italy, in April 2003.
One of these wineries was the Cantina del Vermentino winery, WineCountry.IT's "Company of the Month" for August. The cooperative was established in 1956 and today counts over 200 associate producers. They own and tend 865 acres (350 ha.) of vineyards in the territories of Monti, Telti, Olbia and Loiri Porto San Paolo, just inland from beautiful Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast). The yearly production averages 2,000,000 bottles of which 85% are marketed nationally and 15% abroad, including the United States.
In full compliance with the regulations which in 1996 bestowed the prestigious DOCG recognition on Vermentino di Gallura, the vineyards of Cantina del Vermentino di Monti are planted on soils deriving from granite weathering, at elevations ranging from 650 to 1,650 feet (200 and 500 mt.) above sea level. Planting, grafting, tending and pruning follow traditional methods in order to preserve the typical characteristics of the grapes and the wines obtained from them.
In addition to Vermentino, which takes pride of place among the grapevine varieties of Gallura, other grapes that grow especially well in this district and which add to the wine selection of Cantina del Vermentino are Cagnulari, Muristello, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cannonau, Carignano, Caricaggiola, Monica, and Moscato.
Located in the middle of the western Mediterranean, Sardinia enjoys a mild climate thanks to the mitigating influence of the sea. The district of Gallura, set in the north-western sector of the island, benefits from the year-round prevalence of windy days that are highly beneficial to grape-growing since it limits the insurgence of moulds. Only rarely does the rainfall exceeds three inches (800 mm.) and is mostly concentrated in autumn and winter. The temperatures, which never drop below 72° - 74° Fahrenheit (8° - 9° Celsius), in addition to the long, hot summers days and pleasantly cool, almost nippy nights, also contribute to creating excellent conditions for grape growing.
The winery produces and distributes the following wines and spirits:
- Aghiloia, Vermentino di Gallura Superiore D.O.C.G.
- Funtanalira, Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.
- S'eleme, Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.
- Soliana, Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.
- Balari, Vermentino sparkling wine.
- Galana, Rosso dei Colli del Limbara I.G.T.
- Abbaìa, Rosso dei Colli del Limbara I.G.T.
- Thaòra, Rosé dei Colli del Limbara I.G.T.
- Pascal, New Red (Vino Novello)
- Vigne del Portale, Vermentino Spumante Demi-Sec
- Aldiola, Raisin Wine (Vino Passito)
- Grappa di Vermentino, Aguardiente-like Italian liquor
- Mirto di Gallura, Typical Sardinian liqueur made by hydro-alcoholic infusion of blueberries and sugar.