Sardinia is its own island, technically part of but culturally separate from the rest of Italy and Sicily. One of the most picturesque regions of Italy, the island remains a tantalizing secret for most Americans and so, until lately, have its wines. Giovanni Pinna, chief winemaker at Sella & Mosca, came to Cafe Spiaggia in Chicago recently to showcase some of the winery’s special wines ranging from value to luxury in price.
Sella & Mosca was founded in 1899 by two Piemontese businessmen, Erminio Sella and Edgardo Mosca, revered to this day for their prominent roles in the Risorgimento (Italy’s 19th-century unification movement). It was their love of unexplored terrains that led Sella, an engineer, and Mosca, a lawyer, to venture to Sardinia and start a winery on this idyllic island. European vineyards were just starting to recover from a devastating Phylloxera infestation and Sella &Mosca had an ambitious plan to reclaim the vineyards in the area known as I Piani.
Now, as Sardinia’s foremost wine producer, Sella & Mosca is renowned for premium wines made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. In addition to native varieties Torbato, Vermentino, Carignano and Cannonau, the winery has successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties, notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. And they entrust their precious winemaking process only to top experts.
Giovanni was born in Sardinia and has devoted his entire career to studying, working and teaching others about the island’s unique viticultural landscape. With a university degree in agrarian science and another in viticulture and oenology, he took it all a step further by learning about innovative new research and cutting-edge technology at the institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch.
Not content with all that, he next achieved his master’s degree in oenology and a doctorate in microbic microbiology. Joining Sella & Mosca as oenologist in 2000, he quickly earned chief winemaker status and in this position he focuses on crafting wines of distinctive character with a defined link to terroir while managing an annual production of 7.6 million bottles. He regularly lectures at universities on topics related to oenology and viticulture, and as a researcher, frequently contributes articles to trade journals. Additionally, he has served since 1996 as a member of the Sassari chamber of commerce provincial commission for tastings and evaluation of DOC and DOCG wines.
These 6 beautiful wines all tasted lovely paired with the delicious menu presented by the culinary team at Cafe Spiaggia, and any of them will give you an excellent introduction to Sella & Mosca:
- “La Cala” Vermentino di Sardegna DOC. Full flavor white wine, lots of freshness. SRP $14
- “Terre Bianche” Torbato di Alghero DOC. Fresh, flavorful and crisp on the palate white wine. SRP $21
- “Terre Rare” Carignano del Sulcis Riserva DOC. Aromas of vanilla and fruit forward, a lightly spicy, medium bodied red. SRP $15
- Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva DOC. Full, round, fruit forward red with a consumer-friendly taste profile. SRP $17
- “Tanca Farra” Alghero DOC Cabernet/Cannonau. Flavors of black cherry and and exotic spice make this an exceptional red. SRP $27
- “Marchese di Villamarina” Alghero DOC Cabernet Sauvignon. Gorgeous red with a cherry, pepper, tobacco and coffee nose blends the structure and complexity of Cabernet and the distinctiveness of the Mediterranean. SRP $65