Food & Wine Photo Credit: WineBow

An Astounding Wine Value from an Obscure Place

Who knew grenache from Sardinia could be so special?

Argiolas Costera Cannonau di Sardegna 2011 $22

Keeping track of what different countries call different grapes can be a trick. At the easy end the Aussie’s calling syrah, shiraz makes some level of linguistic sense. Ditto the Italians turning pinot gris into pinot grigio. And then there are the Sardinians who turn grenache, who’s spiritual home is just 300 miles away in France’s Rhone Valley, into cannonau di Sardegna. Now that’s just being difficult for the sake of being difficult (and a little bit conceited to boot). But if this troubling nomenclature is responsible for this wine being priced the way it is, then I guess I can get behind it.

Grenache can be a tricky grape. With the right conditions it can grow like a weed if left unchecked and bring high yields full of ripeness that can translate into boozy, flabby wine. That evidently is not how it works in Sardinia. This is a wine that’s laser-focussed—very aromatic, with quite fine tannins but a nice salty/acid profile. It’s great with a richer pasta dish or even something heartier, but its chocolate notes also work well when just having a glass by itself.

And imagine how clever you’ll look the next time you ask a sommelier if they have any Cannonau on the list.

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