We The Italians | Italian wine: Cannonau

Italian wine: Cannonau

Italian wine: Cannonau

  • WTI Magazine #13 Jan 17, 2014
  • 1138

WTI Magazine #13    2014 Jan, 17
Author : Vino OK      Translation by: Alessandra Bitetti


The Sardinian wine
If you are talking about Sardinian wine, you are talking about Cannonau, and all the shades of Sardinia's land. In fact, under this mono varietal designation, different Cannonau grapes from all over the island can be wine-made. Sardinia is an approximately 70% mountainous and hilly island, with a varied soil and a peculiar flora. So, the nature of the soil and the climate in which the vines are grown are various, depending on the geographic position. The weather in Sardinia is Mediterranean round the coastal areas and continental in the interior.


Cannonau viticulture
Cannonau is a native Sardinian vine and, wrongly, for a long time it was considered nothing other than the Spanish Garnacha imported from Spain in 1400. The archaeological excavations and the techniques of genetic identification have recently demonstrated through the fossils' recovery that this vine was planted and already worked more than three thousand years ago, making it the oldest known grape variety cultivated in the Mediterranean basin.

It is the most widely farmed grape in Sardinia, and generally it yields a very full and rather dry red wine to combine local meat dishes. The results are variable depending on the area of production: however, it always proves up to expectations. It ripens late, with high sugar concentrations that generate high alcohol wines. Until modern times, the system of farming was kind of a sapling, to keep the plant low and sheltered from the harsh climate of the inland areas of the island. Today the espalier system is used, to allow easier and faster working. Yields rarely exceed 8 tons per hectare even if the disciplinary authorizes up to a maximum of 10 tons.

Sardinia's Cannonau DOC
The generic vontrolled designation of origin (DOC) Sardinia Cannonau was established in July 1972 and it authorizes the production of mono varietal wines with at least 90% of Cannonau grapes throughout the island. The best results are obtained in the mountains of Barbagia and Ogliastra, the Anglona hills, the Sassari plains around Alghero and on the mountain of Cagliari. The result is a strong and demanding wines. The color is an intense ruby red with orange reflections, deeper with the ageing. The intense aromas of red fruits are softened by spicy veins while in the mouth it tastes like intense, alcoholic and tannic with a strong astringency. The Riserva type is authorized for at least two years aged wines whereof at least six months in oak or chestnut barrel.

In addition to the generic name, there are also three names of specific area. The name Cannonau Capo Ferrato is authorized for wines produced from grapes grown in the municipalities of Costa Rei, San Vito, Villapitzu and Villasimius - all in the province of Cagliari. The wine is dry and tangy. The name Cannonau Jerzu authorizes the production of grapes coming from Jerzu, Tertenia, Cardedu and the Quirra's estates on the east coast of the island. Last but not least, the Cannonau Pitcher Oliena, for grapes coming from the municipalities of Oliena and Orgosolo, in the province of Nuoro.