Sardinians are great travellers, called from home by their status as an island people, their colonisation by different Mediterranean nations and their need to seek a fortune elsewhere.
If that’s a historical truth, it’s one which has taken on new meaning for the people of the Sulcis area in south-western Sardinia in recent times. Think of this as Sardinia’s Yorkshire (but with better weather), a coal-mining region where the coal mines have been shut by government decree.
For the people of Sulcis, alternative employment came typically either through migration – it’s said that if you look in any Italian restaurant kitchen in London you’ll find at least one Sardinian working there – or through grape-growing.
Local producer Santadi is a product of that process of reinvention, with the company’s dozens of growers producing wines prized throughout Italy for their suppleness and refinement.
They don’t tend to shout about it – Sardinians are often unassuming and, by Italian standards, even introverted – but these Carignano and Vermentino wines are suffused with distinctive character and a perfectly pitched combination of warmth and freshness.
That’s because of the inherent quality of Santadi’s vineyards, but it also owes a debt to the involvement of legendary Antinori winemaker Giacomo Tachis, who was involved in the setting up of the business as a consultant.