The dark and stormy Muristellu grape stars in this singular red from northern Sardinia, cushioned by the tenderness of a splash of luminous Cannonau. The perfume is hard to qualify—more earthy than fruity, it could be compared to the smell of summer rain on hot asphalt. Juicy yet chewy, this down-home rosso is rustic in the best way, comparable to our top Languedoc selections for its value and affinity for simple foods cooked over fire.
Perhaps the Mediterranean’s most ancient and historically prized grape variety, Moscato finds a special home in the highlands of central Sardinia, perched some 2,500 feet above the coastal paradise for which the island is known. Montisci’s bone-dry rendition from very old bush vines is unlike any other Moscato in the world: skin-fermented, barrel-aged, and unfiltered, it recalls the fleshy texture of a ripe yellow peach before herbal and salty, mineral nuances kick in an extra gear of savory complexity. “With Moscato, all the flavor is in the skins,” Giovanni asserts. Drink it cool, not cold, and let it breathe to experience the full spectrum.
Standing in the ashy volcanic sand in which these vines take root, surrounded by brilliant yellow broom, wild herbs, and solidified lava flows that traverse the land like scars, an undeniable energy radiates from the ground up. More than a feeling, it is the aura of Europe’s largest active volcano, bubbling away deep beneath our feet, that makes its presence felt. The vitality of the place is palpable with this hand-crafted red from extremely old vines. Shimmering red fruit, gentle smokiness, silky-fine tannin—the mystique of Etna abounds in this bottle.
Clementina Padova, heiress to the Riofavara estate in southeast Sicily’s town of Ispica, describes her family’s greatest rosso, produced by her father, Massimo, and named for her great-grandfather: “Sciavè (the Sicilian version of Saverio) was a man of passion and a loving grandfather, with big dark eyes that delivered a penetrating stare—suggestive, enigmatic, and of a timeless and ageless beauty. “Sciavè is the result of ancient clones of Nero d’Avola which, besides exalting the limestone matrix of its terroir of origin in the Eloro appellation, carry forth the elegance gleaned from patiently aging the wine in barrel.”
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