Argiolas Isola del Sole Rosso (2010)
I picked up a bottle of the Isola del Sole Rosso on a whim; though I’ve been taking fewer chances with PLCB Chairman’s Selections that I haven’t previously researched (after some duds recently), this bottle comes from Argiolas, a respected producer from Sardinia, who happens to produce the excellent Vermintio Costamolino. Plus, it was only 9 bucks.
I liked it quite a bit – enough so that I went out and got some more. True to Steve Pollack’s tasting note, it’s a smooth, balanced wine that features bright red fruits, and would go well with a wide variety of cuisines. It’s also a good chance to try the Monica grape, which is primarily grown in Sardinia (this is 40% Monica, blended with Cannonau and Carignano).
But here’s the weird thing: after liking it, and deciding to write about it here, I started to research this wine on the web. Not a whole lot. It’s on CellarTracker and Snooth, but there aren’t really any notes. It’s on the PA FWAGS website, obviously. It’s mentioned elsewhere, but not with any actual information about its origins. Wine-Searcher.com has it listed, but it’s only available in Pennsylvania and… wait for it… China. Perplexion began to set in.
So I went back to the bottle to see what info I could glean from that. It’s then that I noticed that there is no reference to Argiolas on the bottle whatsoever. Only “Bottled by V.S. S.P.A.” So I took at trip to the Argiolas website. On my iPhone. But Argiolas has decided to put up a horrible train wreck of a website that’s driven by Flash, so I couldn’t access it on my phone. Later, when I was back at my computer, I gave it another try. No mention of Isola del Sole. Every listing I can find online, however, lists Argiolas as the producer.
Is Argiolas ashamed of this wine? Is it some cast-off of sub-par grapes? Why would they allow Pennsylvania, the second largest wine buyer in the world, to so broadly link the wine with their estate, yet not even bother to put their name on the label? It’s all very strange. I even found a site that showed an 88 from Robert Parker for the ’09 vintage – something you’d think Argiolas would be proud of.
Anyway, I suppose if I were a more through investigative reporter, I could figure out the true story here, but I’m not going to. I’ll just post this review, and go drink some more Isola del Sole Rosso. Hey, it’s only $9!
This is a great wine for the price. Perhaps not the most complex wine, but still hits the high notes. Some funk and fruit on the nose, with a nice mix of red berries, herbs and spice on the palate, and ample acidity on the finish. Great with Italian food.