Nestled in the very heart of northern Sardinia is a contemporary cantina whose wines are taking the world of viniculture by storm. ENVY ITALY’s editors Sharon Kilby and Rosie Meleady catch up with the vineyard’s CEO Massimo Ruggero at Siddùra’s exclusive art gallery and tasting room.
On approaching the Siddùra Vineyard in the heart of the Gallura region you could be forgiven for thinking you have taken a wrong turn. The landscape is tough and uneven, the hillsides steep and imposing, yet as you twist and turn along the single-track road, the wooded slopes and valleys soon open out to reveal a surprising and very beautiful depiction of modern oenology.
Siddùra’s scientifically plotted vineyards, architecturally designed subterranean cantina and thought-provoking art gallery are the epitome of contemporary winemaking, where wine and art are naturally entwined.
The landscape in Gallura appears to offer the perfect environment for growing vines. What makes it so unique?
It is not a perfect environment, but rather the perfect combination of environment, climate and territory. The changes in temperature, the altitude and the impoverished soil formed from crumbling granite create a hostile habitat which is however perfect for the cultivation of the two native grape varieties which have contributed to the history of wine in Sardinia and worldwide: Cannonau and Vermentino.
How did the concept of the winery take shape? We understand that it was a very large job to re-design the land and drainage. What issues did you encounter during construction?
The concept is closely tied to tradition. The façade of the underground winery faces north, from where the cold winds blow in. A natural internal ventilation and geothermal system are the fundamental principles for the ideal refinement and perfect conservation of the wines produced. The soil drainage conditions the plants as the rainwater flows, then the drained water can be conducted into drainage channels which were created solely following a careful study of the subsoil and its level of humidity.
With regards to the planting of vines, there are important factors including the analysis of the land, which is not always the same, the amount of sunlight, which conditions the maturation of the vineyard, the choice of clones and rootstocks which need to adapt to the terrain.
Siddùra has a very strong marketing campaign in place and has won many awards.
Marketing is fundamental for communication, development and interaction with the consumer. It is an instrument which we seek to hone in order to get to the heart of consumers who also seek out their chosen products by relying on important forms of recognition. The prizes serve as guides which stimulate the curiosity of the consumer and lead them to purchase the product.
What are your plans for business development in 2019 and beyond?
Our development plans are linked to the concept of “company philosophy”: express and conquer. The strategy is that of a stone thrown into a lake which creates ripples. The first ripple expresses our idea of authenticity, quality and emotion to the nearest area, that of our homeland Sardinia. Subsequently, the same takes place with the rest of Italy, finally moving abroad.
Gallura is an ancient and enchanting land. What qualities do wines from this region have that others do not?
The quality lies in the terroir. The Gallura region has proven to be one of the most suitable lands for the wines of the future, with its changes in climate, in temperature, characterised by both dryness and heavy rain, the salty winds and the minerals contained in the crumbling granite, all rendering the wines of the Gallura area unique.
Behind the manufacturing process seems to be a real passion and a drive for quality and perfection. What inspires you in this quest?
Quality and perfection are the fundamental bases for the creation of continuity, remaining loyal to the consumer. Those who lack these characteristics cannot hope to become a figure of importance in the market. Passion is the flame which must never go out, as it feeds, creates and illuminates all the other factors.
What makes Siddùra wines so special?
The simplicity of authenticity. Minimalism without forgetting the complexity of fragrance, scent, taste. A sense of history and a vision of the future.