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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
The 1988 is delicate, perfumed and finely knit. Though already far along in its tertiary stage, there is enough fruit to provide for another few years of fine drinking. The 1988 is impressive, but it, too, needs to be drunk sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, this is a great showing for the debut vintage of Turriga. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2012.||Although Sardinia is best known for its spectacular scenery and breathtaking beaches, the island’s oenological landscape is every bit as captivating. Pristine old-vine parcels (many of which survived phylloxera), a variety of unique, indigenous grapes (both white and red) and an increasing number of quality-oriented producers form the backbone of what is arguably Italy’s most fascinating and undiscovered region. The family-run Argiolas winery boasts a long track record that dates back to 1918, when Francesco Argiolas planted his first vines. The estate’s formal history began in 1937 under the leadership of Antonio Argiolas, who built the winery’s early reputation and ran the property for decades. In the late 1970s Antonio’s sons, Franco and Giuseppe, became more involved and gradually assumed responsibility for day to day operations, bringing with them a contemporary approach to viticulture and oenology. Incredibly, Antonio Argiolas remained active until his passing in 2009 at the age of 102. Argiolas makes a wide range of wines, from delicious, entry-level bottlings all the way up to more prestigious selections. I have long considered the estate’s wines – at all levels – reference points in Sardinian oenology. This tasting focused on Turriga, the crown jewel of the Argiolas line up, and covered nearly every vintage from the inaugural 1988 to 2004. Turriga was the brainchild of Giacomo Tachis, the consulting oenologist responsible for Sassicaia, Tignanello, Solaia and a number of other wines that defined an era when Tuscan reds first exploded onto the consciousness of consumers for their ability to stand side by side with the finest wines in the world. The Turriga vineyard was planted in 1975. This limestone-rich plot sits at an altitude of 230 meters above sea level, where breezes from the ocean keep the fruit well-ventilated. Cannonau, Sardinia’s version of Grenache, is the principal variety in Turriga and typically accounts for 85% of the final blend. Bovale Sardo, Carginano and Malvasia Nera, all unique, indigenous varieties, play supporting roles and are used for roughly 5% each, although the final blend varies slightly from year to year. The grapes are fermented for 16-18 days and are subsequently aged in new French oak barrels prior to being assembled and bottled. was frankly surprised by how much time Turriga needs to show the full range of its pedigree. Most vintages are appealing upon release, yet Turriga has built an impressive track record of developing beautifully in bottle. I was also struck by Turriga’s consistency from year to year. Even in smaller vintages balance and a sense of proportion are never in question, while the finest years achieve a brilliant combination of power and elegance. Readers who seek to understand the heights Sardinian viticulture and winemaking can reach owe it to themselves to explore Turriga, preferably a vintage with a few years of bottle age. Wine Advocate.August, 2010
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