Cardedu Nùo' Vermentino di Sardegna
Regular price $15.00
Winemaker: Sergio Loi
Appellation: Sardinia, Italy
Grape Variety: Vermentino
Sergio Loi is a 4th generation traditional Sardinian producer, whose family winery from the early 900s has always practiced no chemical farming and minimum intervention in the cellar. The Cardedu [car-DAY-do] vineyards are located on the island’s sparsely populated Southeast, on crumbling granite soils near the coast, and schist in the ragged-dry hills and cliffs around Jerzu.. A savoury and light white wine: sea salt, sage, basil, rosemary, cedar, and a foundation of chalky stone fruits. Spaghetti alla Bottarga; grilled shrimp with rosemary; a chunk of Pecorino Sardo. With vegetables, it becomes the special sauce.
Sardinian producers are now catching up in popularity to those of Italy’s other large island, Sicilia. One difference that remains is that Sardinia remains more ‘lost in time.’ Cardedu balances on that edge of being traditional but also thoughtful, especially considering today’s warmer climate. In the last few vintages – extremely hot and dry – Cardedu has made lower alcohol wines by picking earlier and careful vineyard management. The result, thankfully, isn’t overtly 10% hipster juice without terroir. Sergio says, it’s just wine that tastes more like the cool vintages he enjoyed in the ’70’s.
Here’s a back story that helped me to understand this producer’s wines better: I asked Sergio before a visit if he could help me fulfill one of my culinary bucket-list items: to eat the infamous, and illegal, Sardinian cheese Casu Marzu in Sardinia.
The first time I heard of Casu Marzu , it seemed like something Keyser Söze would eat for breakfast. For the uninitiated, it’s a spreadable Pecorino cheese, made in the sheep’s own stomach, that becomes extremely creamy due to a colony of live maggots that act as an army of chefs with stick blenders. One eats around the maggots.
At one point during that visit, Sergio smiled mischievously as he lathered some more Casu Marzu on the local crispy flat bread called Carasau. He then poured me some of this macerated house orange wine he called ‘Bucce’ (Bucce means skins):
‘You need a wine that goes down by the bucket to eat maggot-filled Casu Marzu, but also a wine that has enough character to stand up to it.’
And, that’s how I’ve always thought of all the Cardedu wines: super drinkable, but also with enough character to stand up to that archaic Casu Marzu cheese.