Cannonau: wine, grape variety, history and organoleptic characteristics of the the oldest wine in Europe
Cannonau is the most widespread native red grape variety in Sardinia, indeed it is the oenological symbol of Sardinia.
Until 2002 it was thought that the Cannonau vine was a mutation of the Grenache, arrived on the island with the Aragonese, but then a group of archeologists found Cannonau seeds in 2002 in Borore, in the archaeological site of Duos Nuraghes. And so the hypothesis of the Spanish descent went into smoke. In one fell swoop, from a clone of a Spanish grape, Cannonau becomes the oldest grape of the Mediterranean. Not that these medals have importance, but now we understand the strong bond between this wine and Sardinia.
According to the latest hypotheses, the Cannonau comes from the East and was imported to the island by the Phoenicians, true colonizers, and propellers of wine-growing in the Mediterranean.
But let’s get to the wine! Cannonau is a powerful, structured wine, with powerful tannins, low acidity, warmth, spicy tones, and a round fruit made of plums and cherries. Certainly keeping the alcohol and the vigor of Cannonau at bay is difficult, Sardinia is beaten by breezes and this helps to make the wines savory and rich in iodine suggestions, but the warm climate tends to ripen the grapes bringing them to a strong sugar concentration.
Organoleptic characteristics of Cannonau wine
The bouquet of the Canonau is intense, enveloping, and ample with red fruits such as cherries, red flowers, sweet spices, oregano and other aromatic herbs, myrtle, Mediterranean scrub, and balsamic traits. There are various interpretations: the young drinkable and non-spicy ones, and then the full-bodied, refined wines that spend years in cask to carve the concentration.
What does Cannonau taste like?
The flavor of Cannonau is intense, sapid, not very acidic, but with ample and powerful tannins. At the palate is velvety, warm and the bitter flavors given by the tannins unfold layer by layer: licorice, rhubarb, coffee, cola. Alcohol is certainly not in short supply, the structure is elegant but wide. It is not a fish soup wine, of course, but now the era of massive 16 degrees Cannonau is over.
The king of balsamic wines
The particular characteristic of Cannonau wine is its Mediterranean charm, the iodized breath that is often perceived, the balsamic nature that makes it unique. It’s true “island wine” for some parts wild, mentholated, with plenty of eucalyptus suggestions. And are these traits, these suggestions of scrub, pine, and resin that give elegance to Cannonau. Obviously, we are talking about structured and ambitious wines, wines that make barrel aging, but if you want to discover the world of Cannonau di Sardegna, aim high. There are also excellent rosé wines, but Cannonau is a wine that deserves years of rest in the cellar, it is one of the greatest Italian red wines that can compete with Nebbiolo, Aglianico, Amarone, Montepulciano, Nerello Mascalese and Sangiovese.
The faces of Cannonau
Cannonau is cultivated throughout all Sardinian territory and the types are very varied, with varying degrees of intensity. We have the simplest and most immediate, splendid rosé, the red basic wine, and Cannonau Riserva, which ages for 2 years with a minimum of 6 months in cask and finally an incredible production of Cannonau Liquoroso both dry and sweet.