2008 Riserva Sella&Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC

This is one of my favorite Italian wines, and definitely one of the best Sardinian wines on the market.

(Although I do have a 2000 Sardinian Cabernet that was so striking and original for a Cab that I had to buy a few bottles.  It’s like no other wine I’ve ever tried–full of black olives, heavy oak, black cherry, blackberry and leather.  I’m saving it, but will open and review it soon!)

Cannonau has a few aliases.  Known as grenache in France, and garnacha in Spain–this is one of the grapes in the southern Rhone and Priorat blends. Grenache ripens late and thrives in the hot dry conditions of the island near Alghero.  Usually you will find grenache blended with other grapes because grenache isn’t known for its structure, acid or color, but with the right cultivation and aging, this wine emerges perfectly palatable.

The Sella&Mosca Cannonau is easy drinking with generous dried red and black fruits–raisin, strawberry, currant and fig.  There’s an element of spice and vanilla imparted from two years of Slavonian oak aging.  When thinking about non-fruit characteristics, I think about what smells and sensations would I encounter if I were to walk to the vineyard from the closest village.  The ocean wouldn’t be far away, and there is a faint hint of salinity in the minerality profile.  The breeze comes up from the beach through herb gardens–wild and cultivated–olives, shrubs and rocky hills rising from the white sand.  You’ll find a nice layer of  garigue along with some dusty charcoal tones that lends a hit of mocha smokiness among the dark fruits.  Well balanced so the alcohol is not overwhelming (14%), the wine is spiked with great acidity, making this an excellent choice for barbequed anything, game, red meats, but also great with cheese and pasta.  Save some for dessert–chocolate sings a great duet with this grenache!

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