The pristine, pale blue water was highlighted by a wave gently rolling towards the beach’s soft, white sand. The rhythmic sounds of the crashing waves brought an incredible sense of tranquility to those fortunate enough to spend time in this Mediterranean paradise. This little piece of heaven was tucked away in an area called Buggerru along the western coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. The cliffs surrounding the beach, dotted with Mediterranean herbs, have been carved by fierce winds either coming up from the Sahara Desert, bringing higher temperatures, or from the North, carrying a cooling breeze from southern France.
This is one of the places where Antonio Argiolas loves to surf, listening to the meditative waves, lulled into a trance by the stunning purity of the water where another world exists underneath, taking in the power of Mother Nature. It is a passion he has only recently explored, but still, it has undoubtedly become an essential part of his life as, when it is possible, he works his schedule around the best times to surf. The various fierce winds can sometimes make it too dangerous to attempt to ride waves in the Mediterranean Sea.
Surfing is Antonio’s second passion—his first has been handed down to him from his grandfather, and that passion is making wine.
Sardinia is a unique island located between mainland Italy and North Africa. It has kept the rustic charms of its serene villages, nestled within the beautiful mountains that are only rivaled in beauty by its stunning coastline. Not only is it a wonderful place to visit, but the wines produced on this island are like no other. The white wines made from Vermentino have a purity like the pristine Mediterranean Sea that gently laps onto the soft, white sand of the Sardinian beaches; the red wines, made mainly from the Cannonau grape variety, typically have a velvety texture that caresses the palate with generous red fruit flavors intermixed with floral and spicy notes.
One wine producer stands out for quality production on the island of Sardinia: the wine-producing family Argiolas.
In the distant past, Sardinian winemaking consisted of growing international grape varieties to make into bulk wine that would be sold to mainland European countries, as wine was seen as a way to consume enough calories throughout the day. And so, affordable wine was the most in demand. Starting in 1938, ahead of his time, Antonio’s grandfather, his namesake Antonio Argiolas, planted vineyards with more modern viticulture practices, favoring quality over quantity and beginning the family’s journey to becoming the first quality wine producer on the island. He proudly named his family wine company Argiolas. Antonio Argiolas had two sons who replanted the vineyards in the 1980s, further reducing the yields to increase the concentration and complexity in the grapes, hence elevating the wines to a much higher degree of quality—as well as exclusively focusing on the local grape varieties of Sardinia. The children of those sons run the family winery today with the grandson of the founder, Antonio, overseeing the vineyards and winemaking while his cousins handle the overall business side of the company.
The surf-loving Antonio is certainly proud of the men in his family, but he takes every opportunity to point out the women. The most well-known wine of Argiolas, on which they have built their reputation, is Turriga, a vineyard connected to the Goddess of Fertility (Mother Goddess). A statue believed to be over 5,000 years old was found in the area of Turriga, and Antonio’s mother and aunt did extensive research into the land, the history and the name of all their vineyards, eventually learning about the significance of Turriga to the indigenous Sardinian people before the Romans conquered the island in the third century. Argiolas Turriga is an iconic wine that not only shows the beautiful power of the local Cannonau red grape variety and the distinctive sense of place of one of the top vineyards in Sardinia, but is also a love letter to the indigenous culture that is unique to this island. The bottles display the Turriga statue on the label; today the statue is kept in the Cagliari Archaeological Museum.
The special vineyard of Turriga, represented by the Goddess of Fertility, symbolically represents birth, and in this instance, it is the birth of a great vineyard and the power of life that can be felt in the wines. But giving life not only means the first birth of something or someone, it can be a rebirth, which can often be just as important as one’s initial entry into this world, if not more so.
As Antonio found his love for surfing later in life, never in his youth did he consider taking up such a hobby that, through time, has transcended to become a way of life for him. That way of life comprises finding harmony with his surroundings, surrendering to forces that are more powerful than himself and finding an inner peace that he couldn’t previously imagine. Yes, the fierce electricity of youth has softened, but it has allowed more profound and more fulfilling experiences that only come with lots of the ups and downs of life. The same can be said for the Turriga vineyard; even if it impressed those adventurous Italian wine drinkers years ago, the vines are really coming into their own with a multifaceted complexity, balanced by grace that shows the true potential of this vineyard.
Something beautiful is lost when one gets beyond the youthful stages of one’s life. It can seem like a tragedy if the focus is set on mourning the past, but with that loss is a chance for a rebirth, a rebirth that taps one into a once unimaginable potential, yet somehow, it materializes to those who are not afraid to surrender to it.
Link to original Forbes article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cathrinetodd/2023/10/26/the-italian-paradise-with-a-special-wine-connected-to-the-goddess-of-fertility/
2019 Argiolas, Cardanera, Sardinia, Italy: 100% Carignano. A newer wine for Argiolas showing the lovely qualities of a 100% bottling of Carignano from a vineyard very close to the Mediterranean Sea. Pretty aromas of wildflowers, Mediterranean scrub and bright red cherry with a saline minerality and notes of seashell and wild thyme with finely etched tannins.
2019 Argiolas, Turriga, Sardinia, Italy: Single vineyard, field blend of 85% Cannonau, 5% Carignano, 5% Bovale Sardo and 5% Malvasia Nera. Turriga is a benchmark wine for Sardinia. Multilayered blue and black fruits such as blueberry and black cherry with fresh sage and floral notes intertwined with the juicy fruit flavors and laced with an intense minerality of broken rocks with silky tannins and warming spices, such as nutmeg, on the finish.