Saturday, April 22, 2023

Cannonau: Sardinia's Premier Grape

In learning about Italian wine, I love to share the undiscovered areas and grapes, but it is just as important to talk about the regions and grapes that make a region what it is known forIn Sardinia that grape is CannonauIf you’ve never had wines from Sardinia the Cannonau grape is a great place to startIt’s the most accessible wine on the market and makes up about 30% of the island’s production with one in every 5 bottles produced from Cannonau. 

The Cannonau grape was believed to have originated in Spain and brought to Sardinia by the Aragonese in the 1300s.  Although, due to further archaeological studies, there have been 3,200-year-old Cannonau seeds found making it native to Sardinia insteadThis would also make it one of the oldest grapes in the Mediterranean. 

Cannonau grapes of Sardinia
Sourced from Tenute Soletta

Cannonau, pronounced cannon-now, is also genetically tied to Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in FranceThis late ripening, thin-skinned grape creates deeply colored wines that are full-bodied with medium to high alcohol. It displays ample red fruits (strawberries and raspberries) along with some spice and white pepper.  Cannonau can be made as a single variety or used in a blendDepending on where the wine originates from, you can get an array of styles from fruity wines to those with depth, richness and spicy notes. 

Nuoro province wine area of Sardinia
Sourced from Wikipedia - Nuoro province

The majority of the Cannonau vineyards are in the center of Sardinia along the eastern coastline. Some of the best expressions of Cannonau come from the Nuoro province including the areas of Oliena and Jerzu, which make up 70% of the production. There is also the area of Capo Ferrato in the South Sardinia province in the southern east corner worth seeking out. 

Nuoro province in Sardinia
Nuoro province - Photo by Dimitry B on Unsplash

The most popular appellation of Sardinia for Cannonau is the Cannonau di Sardegna DOC. Established in 1972, this appellation covers the whole island where you will find both red and rosé wines in either dry, sweet/passito and fortified styles labeled liquoroso.     

If you’d like to discover some Cannonau options, check out my prior articles. 

If you're interested in taking a look at Cannonau wines in Sardinia try a search on 

*I may receive commissions if any wines are purchased directly from this buyer to support the operations of Vino Travels.

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