I went in search of a Sicilian wine (a Nero d’Avola in particular) but somehow found myself back in Sardinia. I came across this wine in my local wine shop and, seeing that it was recommended and not something I’ve seen in my normal wine shops before, decided to give it a shot. Though you don’t often hear about Cannonau, it is actually a fairly well known grape, much more easily recognized by it’s French name, Grenache (or it’s Spanish name, Garnacha). As a French grape, Cannonau is the Don Cheadle of the wine world, often playing the key supporting role in wines such as the Rhone Valley’s GSM blends (which stands for Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, but that’s for a different blog), but rarely the star. In Sardinia, however, that isn’t the case. This wine comes from the Cannonau di Sardegna DOC region, which, as you would guess, produces wines from the Cannonau grape. These wines can be dry, sweet, or fortified, and must be at least 13% ABV (alcohol by volume).
The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC region is an interesting one in the way it is listed, which can vary from source to source. The region encompasses wines produced in any part of Sardinia and shares territory with a few other regions which could be considered it’s cousins. They are the Monica di Sardegna DOC, the Moscato di Sardegna DOC, the Sardegna Semidano DOC, and the Vermentino di Sardegna DOC. Each region covers the entirety of Sardinia, with the difference of course being the grape in their name. Some sources list these as variations on one region (Sardegna DOC), while others list them separately. Since the most official Italian wine region document I’ve been able to find (available here for those interested) lists them as separate regions, I’m going to treat them as such.
This wine comes from Sella & Mosca, one of the largest producers in Sardinia. It was aged at least two years in Slavonian oak (sometimes referred to as Balkan or Yugoslav oak) before being bottled and aged further. It has a deep, ruby red coloring, with aromas of cedar and oak on the nose, along with some bright fruit notes. It is a dry wine, with nice acidity and smooth tannins, not overpowering. There are flavors of cedar and oak, along with some spices, a bit of plum, and juicy raspberry, which is jammy on the palate. It has a medium finish with a bit of acidity and lingering spice to it. It reminds me of a few other lighter Italian red wines I’ve had in the past, mainly Rosso di Montalcino, which I’ll write about at some point.