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2020 Alghero Cagnulari “Arsenale”

Vigne Rada
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In past vintages, I have described the Arsenale as dense, inky-black, and tooth-staining. Not so with the 2020. Winemaking adjustments, including the introduction of some whole clusters (known as the metodo lasagna in Italy), have shown the Cagnulari grape need not always be a tannic monster. Vigne Rada’s best version to date, it features the variety’s signature fragrance of eucalyptus and tobacco, only with softer tannins that line the palate like a velvet carpet.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Cagnulari
Appellation: Alghero
Country: Italy
Region: Sardinia
Producer: Vigne Rada
Winemaker: Bardino family
Vineyard: 5 years average
Soil: Alluvial with riverbed stones and quartz
Aging: Wine ages in stainless steel tank for 12 months and then 4-6 months in 500L oak tonneaux (no new oak)
Farming: Sustainable
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Sardinia

map of Sardinia

Our first foray into Sardegna is very recent, and it only took one trip to fall in love with the island, its culture, and its wines. Similar to its northerly neighbor, Corsica, there is a strong regional identity here that goes far beyond its official status as one of Italy’s twenty regions. Its people are proud, strong-willed, and deeply attached to their traditions—a distinctive character often seen with island people and accentuated by its long history of invasions and outside rule.

This tumultuous past has resulted in diverse influences—Greek, Roman, Aragonese, Catalan, and Ligurian, just to name a few—that have shaped the island’s culture, language, cuisine, and wines over many centuries. While Vermentino and Cannonau (aka Grenache) reign, Sardegna also boasts a number of indigenous grapes that are capable of expressing something unique in its abundant variety of terroirs.

The Mediterranean plays a major role, providing cooling, salty breezes to coastal areas, while the rugged, mountainous interior is home to high-altitude sites where wines retain freshness in spite of the southerly latitude. The granitic highlands of Gallura and Barbagia come to mind as some of its most qualitative zones, but a range of soils, elevations, and varying distance to the sea mean that the island is capable of producing wines in all styles, from crisp whites to powerful reds and exquisite vini dolci.

The three growers we represent bring something new to the table, something fascinating that is not found elsewhere in Italy or even in nearby Corsica. Their wines evoke the rustic beauty of this fascinating island civilization, and of course, pair perfectly with the local cuisine, be it seafood-based or the hearty, earthy specialties of its interior.

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Inspiring Thirst

I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.

Inspiring Thirst, page 171

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