2020 Cantina Fradiles, Red Wine, Mandrolisai DOC, Sardinia, Italy.
The rare and unique Sardinian red blend here is wonderfully pure with a high elevation freshness, it shows off beautiful aromatics with distinctive rose petal and mineral notes that lead to a medium bodied palate that has tons of personality, layers of strawberry, wild plum, tangy currant and sweet cherry fruits, along with mountain herbs, anise, loamy earth and a mix of spices. The Fradiles Mandrolisai DOC Rosso, a blend of native varietals, Bovale Sardo (Muristellu), Cannonau (Grenache) and Monica comes from mature vines high up in the Mountains, at close to 2,000 feet up that are all organic and hand tended with sandy granite based soils. This vintage reminds me of Freisa or something like that, less grippy than the 2016 that I tried a few vintages ago. The main grape in this wine, Muristellu (Bovale) is now known to be indigenous to Sardinia, which many experts believe was born here on this island. Many Sardinian varieties are genetically close to Muristellu (Bovale) and scientific studies have proved its long history here, and while complicated, these discoveries suggests that Sardinia itself is one of the oldest known wine growing regions in Europe dating back to the 11th century BC. I previously reviewed Fradiles here at grape live.com and highlighted their captivating Bagadìu, which is 100% Muristellu (Bovale) and as noted, it is distinctly different, but equally as delicious. These wines, rustically charming, are best enjoyed with a hearty meal and go great with lamb dishes and or hard sheep cheeses, though I also suggest wild mushroom pasta as well.

The Cantina Fradiles, based in the Atzara district, and winemaker Paolo Savoldo, are making some of the most authentic and intriguing wines on Sardinia, with this field blend being an exceptional example of the region’s wines with deep layers, mineral tones, savory elements and pretty aromatics, all held together with some raw mountain tannin(s) and nice acidity that remind you this is an old world wine. Fradiles makes a lineup of intriguing native mono-varietal wines, which I note above, including white and reds, as well as this Mandrolisai DOC blended wine, which is a true field blend that is co-fermented from Bovale Sardo (Muristellu), Cannonau (Grenache) and Monica, another rare local red grape. In the cellars, Paolo Savoldo handcrafts his reds with native yeast fermentation(s) with temperature controlled vats, with a skin maceration of about 8/10 days in the stainless steel, before being gently pressed and racked to large used oak casks for 6 months or so. I really enjoy this wine, as I did with the 2016, which is typically about 40% Muristellu (Bovale), 30% Cannonau and 30% Monica. Fradiles has become a favorite winery of mine in recent years, thanks to my Sardinian friend Giuseppi Cossu of Impromptu Wines, who makes a limited set of small batch wines as well, and who has been educating me on some of the Island’s rarities. These wines offer a fascinating glimpse into Sardinia and show a unique sense of place, on this strongly independent Mediterranean island, I highly recommend checking them out, even if it means a slightly hard chase to find them.
($34 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

By admin