Vernaccia wine cellars route

a vernaccia wine producer sipping some wine in his own unfired mud-bricks cellar

1 day experience, part of a multi-day 3/8

Meet Vernaccia wine producers in their astonishing unfired clay cellars while having wine tasting.

Start visiting an historical nuragic site where vernaccia grape seeds of the oldest Mediterranean vineyard were recently found; visit 5 well-preserved traditional mud-brick private cellars; meet the vernaccia wine producers in their cellars, having the chance to taste the different vintages according with the wine ageing; pair some delicious food with the different wine years in each cellar; make the Contini winery guided visit, the major vernaccia winery of the area.

Summary

  • Visit the nuragic well with an archaeologist;
  • tour of five different ancient cellars;
  • wine tasting and food in each cellar;
  • visit Contini winery in Cabras;

Transfer from/to your place included.

information request

The Vernaccia wine tradition


Sardinia is a land of great wines, associated to the traditions of every single territory, today expression of the highest level of quality in the world. Vernaccia di Oristano, grown preferably in the Sinis region is no exception: a spectacular white grape variety, famous for its amber color and its distinctive aroma. The sherry-like Vernaccia di Oristano is intentionally aged in oxidative conditions being stored in barrels that are only partially filled. This can add some complexity to the wine with the presence of nutty aromas and a deep golden color. During the last 2 decades, the quantity produced has decreased but the quality has been enhanced greatly. This grapes can vary tremendously in characteristics. Most often they give crisp, refreshing, clean, dry, structured wines. Sometimes they are sweet and golden in color, with almond, floral, and a slightly citrusy flavor.

The Vernaccia has a long history and we have always erroneously assumed that Phoenicians imported it in the 800 BC. Recently this theory has been overturned. Near the Nuraghe Sa Osa, situated in Cabras, a team of archeologists found more than 15,000 close-related vernaccia seeds, perfectly preserved at the bottom of a well that served as a ‘paleo-fridge’ for food. Fourteen seeds have been dated to around 3300 years ago, remarking the stunning discovery of the oldest vineyard in the Mediterranean area.

Visit the oldest vineyard in the Mediterranean with an archeologist


In this experience we have the lucky chance to make a visit to the Nuragic well of Sa Osa side by side with an archeologist who explain to us the importance of the latest discovery.

Meet the wine producers in their ancient unfired clay cellars


We continue, accompanied by a local wine expert, meeting up with the Vernaccia producers in their spectacular unfired clay cellars. This ancient cellars were not altered along the centuries with their walls made of unfired clay bricks (or adobe: the raw sun dried earth material) respecting the tradition of the place. We have the chance to chat with them learning how this sherry-like wine is made and how to appreciate its characteristics. We are taught all the secrets to age this precious wine as the ancient system of “fractional blending”. It is a method where new wine is added to barrels at the “top” and then gradually blended with wine from other vintages: it turns out that within a single bottle of Vernaccia could be blends of wines from several decades of vintages with one local producer having a wine from over a 100 different vintages.

Lunch in the cellars pairing wines with local delicacies


The cellars tour has been designed starting from young sweet wines and going on gradually with older ones. Vernaccia is perfectly enjoyable also when very young even if in the Sinis region is typically aged from a minimum of 2 years to 20 and more years. During the guided tour we mach different levels of ageing with different kinds of food. Sure enough as well as being an excellent aperitif, Vernaccia wines, according with its ageing, also splendidly pair with fish, pasta, veal chops, shellfish, seafood, bottarga, and desserts, especially those made with almonds.

Visit the Contini winery of Cabras


You are accompanied in the most important Vernaccia winery of the area, the cantina Contini di Cabras. The Attilio Contini Winery has been involved in traditional and modern wine production for over a century. Founded in 1898 by Salvatore Contini, today it represents supreme excellence within the Sardinian wine scene. Nowadays Attilio, Salvatore’s son, carries on his father’s hard work. He has enlarged the current winery and increased the area of the vineyards. Here you have the possibility to meet staff and experts, making guided tours of the spaces and wine tastings.

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