Highlights

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and is an autonomous region of Italy. 150 miles (240km) from the closest point to Italy and Covers roughly 9300 square miles. Sardinia home to a succession of civilizations, all of which have left  their make. While Sardinia is mainly known as a beach and summer destination, this works very much in our favor as frankly we would avoid mid July to the first week in September. The indigenous people of Sardina the Nuraghi which little is actually known before 1300BC built Nuraghe fortified castles and churches, visitors interested in history, architecture and culture won’t be disappointed. The Sardinians are fiercely independent and have their own language and culture and were there to be a vote, it would surely be a Sardit.  Not so incredible when you think it is as close to Tunisia as to mainland Italy. Wine wise there is so much to get excited about and like its larger sister Sicily Enotourism is in its infancy which makes more for wonderful immersions with wine makers and owners. Sparsely populated and somewhat hard or expensive to get to means this is one of the most authentic and interesting of Islands.

Alghero the capital with Aragon and Catalonia influence
Arbatassa (or Arbatax) Capo Bellavistas beautiful harbor with its famed Red Rocks
Bosa, 9th century BC, Medieval streets pastel buildings lining the river with the magnificent Malaspina Castle
Bosa DOC white wines made almost exclusively from the Malvasia
Cagliari  point of entry to Sardinia with its maze of medieval alleys 13th-century cathedral and easygoing nature
Castelsardo.Fishing harbor with a fortified medieval village on the cliff tops. One of the most picturesque places of Sardinia
Cala Mariolu Spectacularly scenic beach is an inlet of the Gulf of Orosei
Costa Smeralda, where the rich and hangers on come to enjoy watching each other
Grotte di Alghero, Sardinia’s famous caves
Isola di San Pietro, on the Sulcis archipelago, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans left their mark here and there
La Maddalena a small archipelago in the Strait of Bonifacio, between Sardinia and Corsica
Museum of Masks Mamoiada , the history and culture through the Mediterranean
Montevecchio is a mining complex dating back to the Phoenician and Roman times
The Nuraghe Prisgiona in the archaeological site located in the Capichera valley
Oristano A historic gem. Site of many Saracen invasions
Porto Conte A beautiful nature reserve is a natural inlet of the Riviera del Corallo
‘Sardegna no est Italia!’, screams the graffiti, and you shouldn’t underestimate how distinct Sardinia is from the mainland
Sassari, Sardinia’s second city with a mix of Catalan Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architectural styles
Tharros remains of Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Roman cultures in the most amazing of seafront settings
Valle dei Nuraghi (Valley of Nuraghi) set in a valley of ancient volcanoes, an amazing prehistoric site

How long do I need

If you are making your way to Sardinia with us, 7 nights Minimum, lets remember its the second biggest Island in the Med and however empty the roads are distances need to be travelled. If you would like to add some days out in wine from an existing holiday you may have booked it really depends on where you are based.

When to come

Avoid July and August and its all good, Prices return to normal and you will see the Island at its best.


Wines

Wine is much less culturally and historically evident and one could almost say was imported from French and Spanish, the most established  red varieties reflect this Grenache (In Italy  called Cannonau and Carignan (Carignano) to give two good examples. remember the vicinity to french Corsica that makes sense. Naturally we work with small and interesting wineries but Sardinias wine roots have been based mainly on the co-operatives from 50’s to the 80’s but now that has thankfully changed. Although Sardinia produces much less wine then other Italian regions (lowest wine production per hectare of any Italian wine region) it has a whole host of different denominations DOC’s.  Cannonau di Sardegna and Vermentino di Sardegna are the two most internationally known of Sardinian wines.  Like Fruili most wines are varietally labelled. The largest amount of vineyards lay to the west of the island with Vermentino di Gallura, the island’s only DOCG being easterly. when it comes to whites Malvasia and Vermentino and Muscat Blanc are the big hitters. Carignano del Sulcis from the  coastal zone close to Sant’Antioco, has a cooler climate giving the wines more life and acidity. Vernaccia di Oristano is an oxidized wine highly praised within the island with little export.

Cannonau di Sardegna thought to have been brought over by the Aragonese in early 14th Century but Italians ampelographers are having none of it and say it is is native, the fight continues. One thing is certain Sardinians live long time, one of the worlds Blue Zones and Cannonau has massive concentrations of anthocyanins and polyphenols, both linked to good heart health.

Carignano del Sulcis coastal zone close to Sant’ Antioco, a sea cooling influence for Sardinia’s most southerly vines give great interpretations. Vermentino, while the major white export of Sardinia is often industrial sized production, thankfully there are serious small producers making wonderful examples.  Monica di Sardegna grown almost nowhere else in the world, arriving  from medieval Spain, while just a curiosity right now it may yield results if someone pays attention to it.

Cuisine

The heart of Sardinian food is  roasted and preserved meats, aged sheeps cheeses such as  Fiore Sardo PDO, Pecorino Romano PDO, Pecorino Sardo PDO. Tomato sauces with vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, peas, artichokes, fava beans. The wild game dishes are often scented with juniper, myrtle and wild fennel. For lovers of seafood, Sardinia has it all, Lobsters, clams, crabs, squid, anchovies and sardines, Bottarga Fish Roe, is shaved or thinly sliced to serve over pasta or salad. We have a superb cooking experience in Sardinia we totally recommend.

Fregula is Sardinian soup are can have a whole host of local ingredients

One version found is Fregula, semolina, pork, pecorino and onion soup.

Cassòla, a flavorful seafood soup, can have as many as a dozen types of seafood cooked with spices and tomatoes

Shark  is cooked into burrida, a chower with unique variations at each port

Sea Urchin pasta, strong flavors, but you have to try it and you may love it

Aragosta arrosto splits the local rock lobsters in half, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and roasted in the oven

Fava beans are cooked with cardoons, wild fennel, tomatoes, salt pork and sausage to create the thick stew known as favata

Farro, a local grain, is simmered slowly in beef broth with cheese and mint to make su farro

Casu marzu is a very particular  overripe cheese which is eaten with its live maggots..Mmmmm not sure about that one are you

Spit roasted suckling pig, lamb or kid over wood fire – pit

Sardinians are masters of cooking over an open flame

Chickens are marinated with myrtle leaves and berries

Other Sardinian recipes for meat are agnello con finocchietti, a stew of baby lamb with wild fennel, tomatoes and onion

Pasta culingiones are shaped like ravioli and stuffed with chard and pecorino and served with tomato sauce

Malloreddus, tiny semolina gnocchi are topped with a garlic, basil, pecorino and saffron flavored sausage and tomato sauce

Every village has a unique shape of bread

Sebadas, a sweet focaccia flavored with pecorino cheese and a local bitter honey

Crispy flatbreads abound and crisp carta de musica.  soften it in warm water, then spread it with tomato sauce, grated cheese and poached eggs

Desserts of which there are many often are flavored with spices, almonds, raisins and ricotta cheese

Pabassinas,  pastries filled with raisin walnut paste


 

 

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