It is said that the Renaissance bypassed Sardenia, but surely not the twenty first century. I expected dirt roads, villages of battered huts and people in tattered clothing. To my chagrin, I had taken on a view leftover from the days following World War II. Homes and buildings look spanking new, just painted. So far the roads are very good, the driving easy. So far the food as I expected is simple with depth to the flavors. The people could not be more gracious and hospitable.
After flying into Caglieri, the capitol we drove toward Sant Antioco. An island on the south western corner of Sardenia, it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. I’ve heard it said that Sant Antioco is the least developed part of Sardenia. The only indication I have seen so far are some gravel roads off the main. Friendly people.
We arrived at Luci Faro our hotel about 5 pm. Named after an old lighthouse we could see it from our balcony.
After a dinner not worthy of mention and our first overnight, we were scheduled to tour 6 Mura a cantina in the small town of Giba. It would take less than an hour to get to Giba from hotel to cantina according to Google Girl, but we headed out an hour and a half early in case we got lost. Driving in we rarely saw any signage. We were driving south on the eastern tip of the island.
An hour later Google Girl told us we had arrived. Huh? We had to be in view of 6 Mura, but no Mura to be seen. We called Andres the winemaker and he gave us specific directions. He instructed us to move down the road and turn right at the red house. With noo red house in sight we called him again. This time he sent Giancarlo to rescue us at a nearby gas station. It turned that the red house out was a small red brick attachment to an industrial business next door winery and both within thirty seconds of our viewing point.
Andres was supposed to meet us at the cantina, but when we arrived he called us on his cell and said he had to be in the field. As we had come from California, he apologized, but had to be in the field. He told us that he had asked his assistant to call us the day before and ask us to come then when he was free–we were on the plane from Rome to Sardinia, and apologized that we had not gotten the message. In any case he instructed Giancarlo to give us a tasting. Between my Spanish similar to Italian, my partner’s growing skill with Italian and our Google language app we managed to have a great time with Giancarlo. No tour guides, no winemaker, just Giancarlo and the two of us enjoying simple, limited bantering and good wine. I questioned Giancarlo about his responsibility at the cantina. He simply answered, “it’s drinking wine.”
Hand labeling at 6 Mura.
Tasting from the barrel.
6 Mura is available for purchase in the US. More about the varietals and tasting in a later blog. Carignano got three glasses from Gambero Rosso for 2013 – carignano del sulcis (the specific source of the carignano).
Giancarlo told us that Rosella’s in the Locanda Hotel had the best restaurant in town. An hour and amazing lunch of traditional ricotta ravioli in brodo later, we agreed.
On the way back to Luci Faro we stopped to take a look at a local cemetery.
The weather had cooled a bit by the time we got back to the hotel, but still nice enough for a walk along the rocky coast line. We hustled down a gravel road through the fields beyond the hotel. Rows of crab-apple topped nopales lined up and stretched across the fields like soldiers. Old and gnarled cactus plants surely they serve as representatives of the ancient ones of Sant Antioco.
We continued over on to the cliffs along the coastline.
On our return to the hotel we noticed a newly planted pine forest.
Dinner on the second night much better than the tough faro on the first. The large bicycle touring that was here on the first night has left and there is far less noise.
Ending the day, not so much eventful but still interesting, I cannot help but reflect that Sardenia has such a tranquil energy. A soft quiet underlies the call of birds in the morning, the singing of frogs at night and church bells at the top of the hour. Silent mountains rise to meet luminous skies. Turquoise waters lap the shores. Space and silence everywhere much like the California I knew as a child when unbounded space flowed freely. Freeways, the one or two that existed were not crowded; roads were open and easy. Likewise, in Sardinia driving is not rushed or hectic. Pedestrians cross the streets any and everywhere, bicycling is ubiquitous.
Life is casual. I am getting oriented.