Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Packt Like Sardinia

While I'm on the subject of Italy (see below), I'd rather like to talk about the Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2004. I wasn't familiar with the Cannonau grape but I learned that it is an adapted form of Garnacha brought over from Spain way back when and grown on the sandy, eastern side of Sardinia. Sella & Mosca are one of Europe's largest wine growing estates and I see no indication from their web site that they make wines naturally or with any sort of non-interventionist streak.

So it pretty much flips my wig that this 13.5% abv Cannonau Riserva reminds me more of a Teroldego or some such other northern Italian red rather than a cheery, broad-shouldered, alcohol-rich Castillian, as is apparently the rep of Sardinia wines.

Tangy orange peel and pepper notes join marzipan, pomegranate, sweet and sour cherry, and wet earth in this bright, high-toned wine. Robust acidity provides more of the structure than do the tannins, which are fine grained. What's particularly impressive about this is that it achieves this structure despite being aged in oak casks for two years, i.e. the oak is very well integrated. It's broad in the mouth and not particularly focused but it has good staying power at the midpalate. It also tastes about as good on day three as on day one. I'm not gonna go off the deep end and tell you this is the end-all, but for $13 this is a heckuva wine.


David McDuff said...

Hey Mike,
I gave this the pass on a wine list at lunch today. Based on your notes, I'll have to give it a try the next time I return to the same restaurant (or see it while shopping).

Wicker Parker said...

Thanks for commenting, David. I'd be interested to know what you chose instead, given that you eyed this to some degree, and I wonder whether previous experiences with Sardinian wines made you shy away from this one. In any case, this Cannonau strikes me as a good lunch wine: nicely priced, light enough for a mid day meal, interesting enough to spark a conversation but not so interesting as to be distracting.

David McDuff said...

I ended up with a 2005 Valpolicella Classico from Tomasso Bussola. Not a goodie, as it turned out, but I was hoping for something snappy to accompany our pizzas.

By chance, I stopped into a wine bar in Philly on Tuesday night. The Sella & Mosca Cannonau was on their by the glass list so I pretty much had to give it a try. Your description was dead-on. Good juice; surprisingly lively and un-roasted relative to most of my past experiences with Sardinian grenache.