Monica Larner - 31/12/2015
94 points, James Suckling, July 2015
About this WINE
Backed by a top-pedigree winemaking team, Agricola Punica is undoubtedly a producer that should be on your radar. The project is jointly owned by Sebastiano Rosa of Tenuta San Guido (of Sassicaia fame), influential Sardinian producer Santando and oenologist Giacomo Tachis.
The wine falls under the IGT of Isola dei Nuraghi, which refers to Sardinia’s ancient stone edifices. Punica’s vineyards are in an area known as Sulcis Meridionale. With mild winters, hot and dry summers, and an average of seven hours’ sunlight per day, the growing conditions are superb. Punica believes the terroir here is perfectly suited to realising the potential of their star grape, Carignano (Carignan/Cariñena).
Recommended Producers: Enrico Esu, Giovanni Montisci
Carignan, also known as Carginano in Italy and Cariñena or Mazeulo in Spain, is one of the most widely-planted red grapes in France. Planting became widespread in France during the 1960s, when Algeria gained its independence and was no longer an inexpensive source of red grapes. Languedoc-Rousillon (Cotes du Roussillon, Corbières, Saint Chinian) is the bastion of Carignan in France, and it is also grown Provence, although it now gradually being replaced with more complex and characterful varieties such as Syrah and Grenache.
The berries are blue-black, with fairly thick, astringent skins.Carignan buds and ripens quite late, so it is resistant to spring frosts, but requires a long ripening season and warm climate. It is a vigorous grape, which can result a wine of dull character.
Carignan is useful for adding intense colour, acidity, and fleshy tannins to the archetypal Southern French blends of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. Few select growers have managed to produce interesting, distinctive wines from this grape by carefully limiting the vine vigour and the yields.
Old Carignan vines (over 50 years) on a combination of low yields and suitable terroir can produce magnificently concentrated and characterful wine. The best expressions can be found in Priorat.