Cannonna di Sardegna comes from the Italian island of Sardinia but it’s better known by it’s French name Grenache.
The vine is widely planted on the eastern side of the island and is cultivated in bush vines. Sardinia is not a major Italian wine producer but recently some producers have begun to make some seriously good wine and Cannonau is one grape that does very well in the hot Sardinian sun.
I was in Charlotte’s Bistro in Chiswick, West London the other night and owner Alex Wrethman suggested the 2004 Cantina Gostolai Nepente di Oliena Riserva. At the time, I had heard of the Cannanau grape but couldn’t really remember what it tasted like or any other defining characteristics.
It was an Italian wine though, and a 2004, so I thought it had to be good.
Alex had decanted the wine and we let it sit for a bit longer while we enjoyed a few cocktails at the bar. Finally, the wine was poured and I stuck in. Wow! What a nose! I could have fallen into this wine, the aromas were extremely enticing and I could have sniffed this wine all night long. It was a bit dusty at first then complex barnyard aromas and layers of red fruit – black cherry and raspberry springing to mind. After a bit, I noticed that dark chocolate and toast also emanated from the bottom of the glass.
After all that, I was more then happy to just sniff but I had to do my duty as the Winesleuth and took a sip. Delicious! A supple and velvety wine with plenty of ripe raspberry and black cherry flavours but not overripe. The tannins were very smooth and there was a kick of acidity at the end of the wine. It finished on a nice toasty chocolate note. I enjoyed this wine immensely, it was a fabulous surprise.
Italy has a plethora of wines that are, in my opinion, very under-rated and Cannonau di Sargenga is definitely a grape that you should keep in mind when picking out a wine.