Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegno Riserva, 2005

Cannonau di Sardegno is actually Grenache grown on the Italian island of Sardinia. And anyone familiar with Southern Rhone wines would recognize the Grenache heritage immediately.

The color is a medium light brick color, much lighter than I expected for an 11-year-old wine. And the smells and flavors are also much more mature. Wild berries, red cherries and peppercorn. This wine has the intensity and focus of Grenache from low-yielding vineyards (as opposed to most of the Grenache from Australia, California and Spain). Warm and satisfying. This is very much like a good Chateauneuf du Pape, but one from the late 1980s rather than 2005.

As an interesting comparison, on the second night I tasted it side-by-side with a 2004 Cotes du Rhone from Domaine Sainte-Anne. The Cotes du Rhone is a year older but is several shades darker in color and tastes much younger with fresh, bold strawberry fruit flavors. This is not your run-of-the-mill Cotes du Rhone, though; Sainte-Anne ages well over many years. At this stage, the Cannonau is by far the more interesting wine. Five years from now, I'll probably prefer the Sainte Anne.

As a poor person's Chateauneuf, Cannonau di Sardegna is a good value at about $14 a bottle. But don't put it away for any longer than a decade.

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