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Argiolas Costera 1996 "Wow! I love this wine...where did we get it," were the first words uttered by a senior member of our tasting panel, sentiments the rest of the group was too captivated to sputter. It’s no wonder, from the very first draught of the 1996 Argiolas Costera, we were hooked. The captivating scent of violets and roses, fragrant woodlands and berries caress the nose. It’s almost impossible to draw your face away from the glass to sip this wine but you’ll be glad that you did. Kirsch, black cherry, truffle and berry stroke the palate, all with the final soft touch of velvet in the finish. Neither hardness nor "edge" mar this lush, spicy, delectable wine. It is ripe and jammy, and loaded with mouth-filling flavors, without the flabbiness of other less interesting Mediterranean wines. The Argiolas Costera is made from 100% Cannonau and is testimony to the quality of wine produced from this varietal. Drink this wonderful Sardinian beauty over the next year or two. Allow at least 30 minutes open before serving.
Poultry, grilled meats, sausages and a myriad of Mediterranean dishes all offer first rate pairings with the 1996 Argiolas Costera. We have especially enjoyed the long, lush flavors of this wine with a chicken risotto all balsamico. The marriage brings out the strength and character of both the food and the wine, without sacrificing the subtle, savory tones of either. Another particularly enjoyable match is the Argiolas Costera with a rich lamb barley soup, served with fresh, crusty bread and a plate of regional Italian cheeses. In another vein, several panel members recommend trying this wine with fresh pasta dishes with rich, tomato-based sauces. Neither the spices nor the natural acidity of the tomato sauce clash with the wine. A simple roast leg of lamb, rubbed with garlic, olive oil and fresh rosemary provides another top-notch accompaniment to the Costera. Roasted eggplant and spicy bean dishes also make for pleasant company when brought to a table set with Costera.
Excellence and Inspiration from a Land That Time Nearly Forgot and the Wine Public had all but Forsaken Leaving the Sardinian capitol, Cagliari, Highway 387 carries the traveler into the wild Mediterranean hinterland along a picturesque route. One travels about 20 kilometers until the road reaches the territory of Serdiana (the ancient name was probably Xerdiavi, meaning an area rich in cedars, the essence of which perfumed the religious rites of the Greek monks who helped colonize Sardinia). Here the excellent climatic conditions, the richness of the soil and the abundant water supply has made this region exceptionally suitable for human habitation, as well as the cultivation of the vine since prehistoric times. Just three kilometers southwest of the village of Serdiana, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, one comes upon the ancient church of Santa Maria de Sibiola, constructed in the first half of the XII century by the Victorine Monks of Marseilles. This was already a very prosperous agricultural center in the XII century under the active guidance of Benedictine monks. Although no longer a religious holding, the locals still commemorate their heritage with a religious celebration every September 8th. It is here that Argiolas was founded some sixty years ago by Antonio Argiolas. Antonio Argiolas dedicated the remainder of his life to restoring this beautiful country to the cultivation of the vine and the tending of olive groves. Much of this land lay fallow for years since its 12th century zenith, until Argiolas reclaimed it. It is in Serdiana that he planted his first plot of land, "Su Paulli Mannu", as a vineyard and olive grove, and it is in the tradition of pioneering monks that Antonio Argiolas gave his life to his passion. He devoted his life to the ancient traditions of Mediterranean civilization: the cultivation of the vine and the tending of olives, endeavors praised by the venerable Plinius, Columella and Horace, as well as the Benedictine monks. From the very first planting, the Argiolas vineyards have been virtual gardens, prime examples of professional expertise in the culture and nurture of the vine, with the exclusive aim of guaranteeing the quality of their product. In addition to the ancient practices of their ancestors, the Argiolas winery has added the latest modern equipment for winemaking, storage and maturing wine in oak barrels. Under the guidance of Antonio’s two equally passionate and dedicated sons, Franco and Guiseppe, the Argiolas winery is a showpiece and inspiration in a land that time nearly forgot, and the wine public has all but forsaken.
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