Seven hundred hectares, located in what is widely regarded as one of the finest winegrowing areas in Sardinia; here, the rolling hills and endless plains facing out to sea are home to the vineyards of the Santa Maria La Palma winery, in a part of the island that boasts enviable paedo-climatic conditions.
It is here that the mild temperatures and the exposure to the winds blowing in from the coast have combined to create an environment that favours the production of high quality wines – wines that are the perfect embodiment of the terroir.
In the vineyards, the winery’s growers leveraged their expertise to select the varieties best suited to the features of the estates. Today, we know the history of each of those vines, and so we can care for them appropriately in order to ensure that they carry on producing the best bunches.
Immersed within this unique microclimate, the winery decided to allocate some space to the varieties that have characterised the Sardinian tradition, and soon realised that Cannonau and Vermentino should constitute the major grape types on which its output should concentrate. Twin souls of the local terroir – the former red, the latter white – the wines made using these grapes are appreciated right around the world for the identity they express through their unique structure.
On these lands, the rich, varied nature of the soil has also enabled the winery to plant out other – equally prestigious – grape types, such as Monica and Cagnulari. The latter, which was for centuries confined to a peripheral part of northern Sardinia and was almost forgotten about by the island’s winemakers, has been rediscovered and re-evaluated, offering up through its grapes a precious gift. Today, Cagnulari comes into its own in the chalky soils of the Uri, Usini and Ittiri zone, around 20 km from the sea, and in the Guardia Grande area, at the foot of the Monte Doglia mountains.
The origins of Vermentino are not entirely certain, but traces of its cultivation dating from the 14th century have been found on the island of Corsica and in the Liguria region of Italy, meaning that it probably came from the Iberian peninsula. It appeared in Sardinia in the late 19th/early 20th century, being planted first in the north-east before becoming popular all over the island.
It is a typical coastal wine, giving of its best when cultivated close to the sea.
Delicately perfumed, smooth, dry and slightly bitter. Like fortified wines,
Vermentino it is laced with subtle hints of apple.
Cannonau is believed to have been imported to Sardinia during the period of Spanish domination (from the 12th century to 18th). The first reference to a wine with a name resembling Cannonau dates from 1612 and concerns a Sardinian wine sent to King Filippo I. Cannonau is the most widely cultivated red grape in Sardinia and the wine named after it is redolent of the ancient traditions of the island.
The Cannonau grape adapts remarkably well to its environment, expressing itself fully whether it is cultivated in hilly areas with dry, gravelly soils or in clayey coastal soils that are well-exposed and well-ventilated.
The wine is well-structured and is highly reminiscent of fresh red berry fruit.
In the riserva version, jammy notes and hints of spice come to the fore.
As with other grape types, it is believed that Cagnulari’s arrival in Sardinia occurred during the period of Spanish domination. It is grown only in a very small area in the north-eastern part of the island, where it expresses its character most fully.
This is a very demanding vine that is difficult to grow and requires special cultivation techniques. It gives of its best in loose soils of alluvial origin located close to the sea.
Deep red in colour, with a delicate aroma of spicy, balsamic notes. On the palate, it is clean and delicately smooth.
The cultivation of the Monica grape dates back to the 11th century, when Camaldolite monks started to grow it around their monasteries. It is found throughout the island, nowhere more so than in the province of Sassari.
Monica prefers warm climes and deep, chalky, silicious soils that are not overly damp or fertile.
Ruby red in colour, on the palate Monica is velvety and lightly acidic, offering up aromas of blackberry and cherry that, with ageing, reveal subtle spicy notes.