94 points Wine & Spirits
"The Contini family has been making wine in Sardinia’s southwestern corner since 1898, farming indigenous varieties such as Cannonau, Vermentino, Nieddera, and Caddiu. Their Vernaccia di Oristano wines are their most distinctive, showing a similarity in flavor and style to wines from Spain’s Jerez. The Vernaccia grapes hang on the vines until early October, accumulating rich sugars that generate ample alcohol without fortification. After fermenting to dryness, the wine ages in partially filled chestnut casks in a warm and dry room, where a thin veil of yeasts develops on the wine’s surface and protects it from the air. Contini keeps the riserva in cask for as long as 20 years, far beyond the required four years of aging. As the wine rests under the veil of yeasts, it picks up a light amber color and flavors of marzipan, toasted almonds, toffee, espresso, orange rind, and celery seed. The layers of flavor unfold gradually, creating a complex and rich sensation that’s washed by a seashore scent of brininess on the fully dry finish. Skip the dessert and pair this fascinating wine with hard cheeses and toasted nuts."
93 points Vinous
"Bright pale amber-gold. Lovely lift to the aromas of orange peel, ginger, brown sugar, and grilled hazelnut. Super concentrated and glyceral but with terrific penetration and verve to its flavors of orange oil, honey and hazelnut spread. Not at all heavy or over the top, this extremely long, savory wine will easily last decades. Not especially sweet, this rich wine will work best with aged cheeses, including blues or rich, hearty long-cooked white meat stews."
93 points Decanter
"Elegant and understated with lovely walnut, almond and caramel aromas. The palate is beautifully pure and bitter sweet. Delicious."
Vinous Reverie Notes
Contini has been the benchmark for high-quality fortified Vernaccia in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. This sherry-like fortified wine spends 20 years in barrel and is one of the most complex and age-worthy Vernaccia's being produced. Tasting Notes: Fortified Wine. 100% Vernaccia. This is a bright, deep amber-colored wine Gloriously heady aromas of almond flowers and toasted nut introduce this wine. Whiffs of dried apricot and honey mark the briny close. It is firm and voluminous on the palate with a rounded mouthfeel and warm character. Its salty fresh flavors hold incredibly steady on the finish giving great balance to the wine.