The history books explain the reason they make “sherry” in Sardinia, Italy is because the Phoenicians brought the tradition with them when they landed on the island 2800 years ago. Francesco, on the other hand, tells us they were growing vernaccia and making this style of wine long before and it was proven when they found grape seeds in the tombs of the Nuragic civilization from over 4000 years ago. There are only a handful of winemakers still making this wine and Francesco is one of them producing just about 800 cases annually and selling them after 10 years in very old chestnut barrels.
Francesco will tell you his philosophy is just to do everything perfectly, be there all the time. You can’t miss anything. He doesn’t till his vineyards because they are naturally very fertile. He does green pruning to cut away grapes and squares off the vine leaves. They slightly dust the grapes with sulfur at the harvest and then there is no further addition and the wines tests at 0ppm free, and around 20ppm total at bottling, which is about 10 years later. Francesco says Vernaccia is either born healthy or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then you just have to throw away all the grapes. These wines are a great alternative to Sherry, especially in all-Italian accounts, also are great for cocktails, and a great food pairing option. Only about 6 producers still make these traditional DOC wines.
Vineyard Size: 9 hectares
Total Winery Production: 800 cases
MORE ABOUT THE WINERY: Francesco Atzori & Co is a traditional, family-run wine and olive-oil producing company with land dedicated to the cultivation of olive trees and Vernaccia vineyards in the Oristano province. It sits in the middle of an interesting, naturally beautiful area where many archeological sites of the pre-Nuraghic, Nuraghic, Punic – Phoenician and Roman periods have been found. The company’s land covers an area of 40 hectares, thirteen of which are vineyards where autochthonous grapes are grown and with cellars sufficient for the transformation of the grapes into wine . They also have seven hectares of olive groves and their own pressing plant. The grapes are cultivated according to the tradition of the founders which ensures high quality production. The company only produces a limited supply of wine, out of respect for the environment and nature.
Atzori Vernaccia di Oristano 2006
GRAPES: 100% Vernaccia
PROFILE: This is a golden color wine with an amber hue, which becomes even richer as it ages. The bouquet is intense and persistent, delicate and floral with a clear hint of almonds and a scent of toasted hazelnuts as the wine matures. Distinct notes of sea salt and a surprising acidity round out the finish.
GRAPE GROWING: Non-certified organic farming. Manual harvesting.
WINEMAKING: 30-40 hectoliters per hectare. Spontaneous fermentation. Soft pressing. Temperature controlled fermentation. Aged under the flor in oak and chestnut until the flor dies. It is then blended with other batched from that vintage and aged for a total of 10 years. No fortification is used, the alcohol rises naturally through evaporation.
An open bottle will last for months.
Stats: Alc: 15.1 / PH:3.49 TA: 5.7 g/L RS: 0.8 g/L
Sulfur: 45 ppm at bottling, 3 ppm free
Soil: Alluvial, sand, slightly loamy
Vineyard Age25-60 years
Pairing: Hard cheese, Jamon, Sardines, Anchovies, Olives, Mushrooms, Pork Rilletes Cuisines: Spanish, Italian, Mexican