This is part of an ongoing series on wine-in-context, stemming from the belief that not only does every bottle have a story to tell, but every winery and knowledgeable wine merchant.
July’s wine of the month was from one of Italy’s two regions that are islands, Sicily; this month’s wine hails from the other, Sardinia!
While visiting my dear friend Emily in Denver this summer, I was introduced to Mr. B’s, a wine and spirits shop in a hip marketplace near her house. After talking about wine and Italy with Scott, one of the owners, I asked if he would help me pick something good for August’s wine of the month; He accepted and instantly suggested a wine from Sardinia, explaining he was supposed to take a vacation there this fall, but an unfortunate locust infestation on the island caused him to have to cancel the trip, so he wanted to show them some love and support. I think we all can get behind that—especially when the wine is so good!
August’s Wine of the Month:
Monica di Sardegna DOC
THE WINE: ‘Praja’ Monica di Sardegna 2017 | $20
“Praja” is the Sardinian word for spiaggia, meaning “beach” in Italian, which is just where you might want to enjoy this bottle. Made from the native grape variety Monica (most likely brought over from Spain centuries ago), this is a delicious fruit-forward red wine that can be chilled to bring out its refreshing acidity. The grapes were hand-harvested from pesticide-free vineyards, fermented and aged in stainless steel and unfiltered. Pair with grilled chicken and salads, or the typical Sardinian couscous-like pasta, fregola. (For a fregola recipe, check this link out.)
THE WINERY: Cardedu
Cardedu is the winery of the Loi family, founded by Alberto Loi in the early 20th Century and now into the third and fourth generations. The family works exclusively with indigenous grapes from Sardinia, including Cannonau (full-bodied complex red), Vermentino (crisp, white), Cagnulari (a spicy, medium-bodied red) and, of course, Monica (light/medium-bodied fruity red). Found in the sleepy central-eastern Sardinian province of Ogliastra, between craggy mountains and a shimmering, turquoise sea, the Cardedu vineyards are rich in minerals and well-ventilated, and the grapes thrive in the sunny, Mediterranean climate.
Travel tip (post locust infestation): this region is a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders, from impressive geological formations to the ancient stone structures called nuraghe that date back to 730 to 1900 BCE (!!!!) and dot the landscape.
THE WINE MERCHANT: Mr. B’s | Denver, Colorado
Brothers Scott and Jared Blauweiss started Mr. B’s after they saw the need for a good wine shop in a newly revitalized area of Denver. Though not wine experts at that point, they took their high-end customer service skills, which they had acquired by working in their dad’s jewelry business, and applied them to wine and spirits sales—the result was a huge success. Within a few years, the trailblazers opened a second shop in the Stanley Marketplace, a warehouse containing 50+ independently owned businesses in an eastern suburb of Denver, which is where I met up with Scott. I was impressed with their well-curated wine selection from around the world, as well as their spirits and whisky vault. It was easy to see why they are so appreciated by their clientele, which tends to be mostly young families who live in these newly developed areas.