Sella & Mosca Winery is located on the enchanting and beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia. They are the island’s foremost and largest wine producer, making premium wines exclusively from estate-grown grapes. Dedicated to native varieties, they produce wines from local grapes such as Vermentino, Torbato and Cannonau and have also successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sardinia – A Mediterranean Jewel
Sardinia is a jewel in the Meditteranean sea, located at a unique juxtaposition which is just north of Africa, east of Spain, west of Italy and south of France. The island is far removed from mainland Italy, making the terroir interesting and very original. From a geological point of view, 8-10 million years ago(before the glacial era) Sardinia was attached to the south of France. Making Sardinia more closer in terroir to Provence than Tuscany. Located in the center of the Mediterranean sea, Sardinia has a Mediterranean climate that delivers bright sun-drenched days, with long summers and mild winters that are windy in the coastal areas. This wind adds salty briny notes to the wines.
Detached from Italy, Sardinia is especially interesting from a cultural perspective. Sardinia is quite unique and has its own cultural vibe in terms of religion, festivals, language, and even gastronomy, Locals take great pride in being designated as one of the five “Blue Zones” around the world. Blue Zones are regions where there is the highest percentages of people over 100 years old, it is an area where the people live the longest and are the healthiest. The extended lifespan in Sardinia is often attributed to the relaxed island lifestyle and daily consumption of wines made from the Cannonau grape variety. Cannonau has high levels of resveratrol, a naturally occurring antioxidant that contributes to longevity.
Sella & Mosca Winery
Sella & Mosca’s founders were two wealthy gentlemen from Piedmont, Mr. Sella(engineer) and Mr. Mosca(lawyer). Astute businessmen, they noticed wines in Piedmont were destroyed by Phyloxxera while those in Sardinia were healthy. Recognizing a potential business opportunity, they purchased the land bordering the historic port of Alghero. In 1899, when the phylloxera crisis ended they founded the winery.
The winery is located in the northwestern part of Sardinia in Alghero, which was founded around 700 years ago by the Catalans. Alghero is a historic and fortified city that faces the ocean. The main vineyards of Sella & Mosca are just outside the town of Alghero. In addition, they have vineyards in Gallura(only DOCG oof Sardinia), vineyards in Sulcis and they have adopted old vine vineyards in Ogliastra. Sella & Mosca’s 1,600-acre estate, I Piani, constitutes the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy, covering more than 1,200 acres of vines. It is one of the largest wine estates in Europe.
A wine pressing scene in Egypt’s Old Kingdom found on the bust of archeological discovery that is 2000 years old, is the logo for Sella & Mosca Winery. The bust depicts five men using long poles to press the grapes contained in a sack so that the juice filters through the fabric and falls into the jar below.
Let’s talk about Torbato. It is a variety that was brought to Sardina by the Spanish 600 years ago. Then the variety disappeared in Spain and Sardinia because it was difficult to cultivate and gave very low yield. It is also a problematic grape when pressed. It has a cloudy must which is difficult to clarify, hence frustrating winemakers. Sella & Mosca believed in the greatness of Torbato and with conviction brought it back to life, out of extinction.
I had the opportunity to taste with Giovanni Pinna(Chief Winemaker), a native of Sardinia, along with Alphonso Galiana(North American export manager). It was a fantastic tasting covering the history, the people and the wines of Sella & Mosca. So let’s taste…
Sella & Mosca Torbato Brut Spumante 2018 (SRP $24)
This is a fantastic and unique sparkling wine made from a unique variety. This Brut Spumante is made with the Charmat Method using 100% Torbato. In France they call Torbato, Malvoisie de Roussillon. The wine is crisp and the perlage is fine with floral aromas. There is notable freshness and salinity. This is a very elegant bubbly that is great with seafood like, shrimp, mussels and oysters.
Sella & Mosca Terre Bianche Torbato 2018 (SRP $25)
The grapes for Terre Bianche are the same as the Brut Spumante but are harvested later for this still wine. The wine represents a pure expression of Torbato. A very pale and delicate gold color fills the glass. It is aromatic with fruit and floral notes. On the palate, the wine is fresh and appealing with notes of citrus, bergamot and pear. A really elegant wine with a nice balance of alcohol and acidity. This is a wine that is classically representative of the Sella & Mosca estate.
Sella & Mosca La Cala Vermentino 2020 (SRP $16)
Vermentino is the quintessential white grape of Sardinia. La Cala Vermentino is named after a lovely stretch of coastline that is known for its violet hues. There are nice tropical aromas on the nose. The wine is intense, fresh and balanced with a salty finish. This is a beautiful expression of Vermentino that is typical of Alghero. It is crisp and light in alcohol, making it the perfect pairing with light summer pasta and seafood.
Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2018 (SRP $18)
Cannonau is widely produced in Sardinia. The sea-kissed, warm summers, with diurnal temperatures, help yield concentrated Cannonau grapes, rich in acidity and primary aromas. The Riserva is aged 6 months in Slavonian oak. It is a medium-bodied wine with a ruby hue and intense aromas of violets and Mediterranean herbs. On the palate, the wine is very elegant with notes of violet, red fruits, and wild herbs. The tannins are gentle and smooth. A very well-balanced wine with a persistent and long finish.
Sella & Mosca Tanca Farra 2015 (SRP $35)
This is a historical wine for Sella & Mosca Winery. It is a 50/50 blend of Cannanou and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a wine that blends the elegance of Cannaou and the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. Tanca Farra is aged 12 months in barrel – part in second use French barrique and part in oak casks. Prior to release, the wine is aged for an additional 3 months in the bottle. There is a red ruby color in the glass that is elegant on the nose with notes of floral and spice. The wine is full-bodied on the palate with supple tannins. A beautiful and unique wine as Cabernet Sauvignon is not typical of Sardinia. This beautiful blend will pair beautifully with hearty red meat dishes and mature cheese.