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Viticulture in Sardinia

Sardinian houses dozens of indigenous grapes, many of which are still little-known and would deserve more in-depth studies. Cannonau and Vermentino are the most prominent varieties but the truth is many of the best contain small percentages of other grapes found in old vineyards. 

What are the Grape Varieties of Sardinia?


Cannonau:
the key red grape in Sardinia, showing genetic ties with Grenache, Cannonau gives light ruby wines with distinctive aromas of luscious red fruits, Mediterranean herbs and myrtle. The best versions show soft tannins, bright acidity supporting a medium to full-bodied structure, and well-integrated alcohol. Versions from high altitude areas such as Mamojada are especially refined and captivating.

Carignano: thriving in the Sulcis area, on the western coast of Sardinia, this grape shows a darker color than Cannonau, and gives richer, savourier and more tannic wines, especially when the grapes are sourced from ungrafted vineyards.

Vermentino: the key white variety,  giving anything from light and crisp whites making a good aperitif during summer to full-bodied examples with a golden color and a rich, creamy texture complemented by energizing salinity. Even here, old vines make the difference, yielding the most complex and concentrated examples.

Vernaccia di Oristano and Malvasia di Bosa: two little-known white grapes that give excellent fortified wines in Western Sardinia, drawing parallels to Marsala, Madeira, and Sherry. 

Other key grapes:

  • Cagnulari
  • Granazza 
  • Moscato
  • Torbato
  • Bovale
  • Monica
  • Muristellu 
  • Nuragus 

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Cannonau- sardinia

The 10 best Cannonau di Sardegna to try

Nine out of ten wines in this report were tasted by Raffaele Mosca at the Sardegna di Vinodabere event in Rome in January 2024. Le Anfore di Elena Casadei by Tenuta Olianas was tasted at Vinitaly 2024. Five stars *****  Jankara – Cannonau di Sardegna 2020    This iconic producer from the Gallura subregion – which is […]

cannonau-sardinia

Discovering Cannonau di Sardegna: one of Italy’s most underrated red wines

Whenever I taste extensively through Sardinian wines, I get the feeling that this is one of the most underrated regions in Italy, offering a noteworthy quantity of talented small to  medium-size producers who still fall under the radar. Unfortunately, qualitative improvements over the last two decades weren’t matched by proper communication efforts – Sardinians are […]