The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC covers all of the island of Sardegna, meaning styles can vary considerably from fresh and fruity to rich and full-bodied, according to the grape’s growing conditions, the winemaker’s preferred style, and the prevailing regional techniques and traditions.
Cannonau is the name of the grape, and it is genetically identical to Spanish Garnacha, French Grenache and Italian (mainland) Tai Rosso, Tocai Rosso and Alicante. The ruling theory is that the grape was introduced by the Spanish to Sardegna, however research by Gianni Lovicu in 2006 challenged this, arguing that the opposite is true. Lovicu cites the etymological background to the names, and references a mention in Cervantes’ El Licenciado Vidriera (1613). Whatever the truth, it is an interesting debate to watch.
The grape must take at least 85% of the blend, with 100% most commonly used. Blending partners are Bovale, Carignano (Carignan) and Pascale. Riserva versions must spend at least six months in wood, out of a total of at least 2 years ageing.
There is a Classico sub-zone for wines made with at least 90% Cannonau in the province of Nuoro and the sub-region Ogliastra.
Three key sub-zones are known for their high quality, ageworthy Cannonaus: Oliena, Jerzu and Capo Ferrato. All three are on the eastern side of the island, from central to south.
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