Recently, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I got to try for the first time the wines of Battista Columbu. You may remember Columbu from his appearance in Mondovino. He was the old man of Sardegna who said through stained teeth: "People have lost their identity, their sense of where they come from." Columbu is one of the last producers of Malvasia di Bosa. There are only 50 hectares of vines still cultivated near Bosa for this kind of wine. Columbu controls only a handful of those hectares.
We tried two wines from Columbu, his Malvasia di Bosa 2006, and an IGT wine he calls Alvarega, the later from 2011. The Alvarega had spices reminiscent to me of cardamom and saffron. It was fairly light both in color and on the palate. The Malvasia di Bosa, which I preferred, was a deeper wine with a complexity that unfurled with time as the bottle stood open. This was not a sweet wine so much as a rich wine, with a viscosity but also a savory edge. If you are familiar with Vernaccia di Oristano, also from Sardegna and also raised in chestnut barrels, that might be considered somewhat similar to this wine that I tried, but the way the Columbu carried its weight was different from the Contini wines I know, and the fruit character was more apparent, or at least, different. But if you were thinking Vernaccia di Oristano you would at least be in the same frame of mind. We drank these wines with assorted cookies, and with conversation, and at least we got the conversation part right. Certainly these are wines to discuss. I wouldn't necessarily recommend pairing them with cookies, although I did like the cookies. I think perhaps certain cheeses might be the better match. The sweetness of the cookies kind of shut the wines closed a bit.
It is rare at this point in my career to come across wines with history that I not only do not know but that I have never even seen. I get palpably excited when this happens, and I have to tell you, I was thrilled to taste these. Columbu himself is someone I enjoyed learning more about, both from his website and from this interview wherein he said "around wine you can talk about everything": a sentiment I certainly agree with. Perhaps you will also find these wines on your table one day and find that they have everything to tell you.