Our third vintage of Antonio Sanguineti's Cannonau di Sardegna has recently arrived, ushering in what is a new Summer tradition here at The Wine House. There is just something about this accessible, soft-tannin red that resonates with our customers. I've already managed to tote a few bottles home and each time, I've been delighted by the restrained cherry flavors and distinct underbrush notes. Because the tannins are tempered and the fruit, forward and warm like berry pie filling, it is perfect for casual, outdoor summer dining. To date, I've served it with Cevapcici, a type of Balkan ground meat delicacy, that I make with a combination of beef and lamb and another time with grilled salmon doused in garlic and olive oil. Whether surf or turf, it worked beautifully!
Cannonau di Sardegna is an appellation that covers most of the island. The Cannonau grape is not identical to Grenache, though is closely related and is surely as far as taste goes - very similar. An ampelographer could write volumes on Cannonau's genetic background, but for most wine historians, it seems reasonable to believe that the grape is closely linked to Grenache, whether originating from France or Spain. Though able to produce dark, complex, age-worthy wines, Sanguineti's Cannonau di Sardegna is meant for early consumption; a sort of elevated table wine.
Summer break in my household is coming to a close - for many families, the new school year has already begun. I prefer to think of Summer as the full three month season it is and not just as the time between the end of school year and the start of the new one. To that end, I expect to spend a few more days at the beach and/or throw an impromptu backyard dinner party or two. Still, school starts up for my husband, a teacher, and my daughter, a student, next week. I think my daughter put it best when she said to me, "I'm sort of excited and sort of not." Raising a glass of Sanguineti's 2015 Cannonau di Sardegna to all the students and teachers out there starting off the new school year! - Anya Balistreri
The new vintage of Sanguineti’s Cannonau di Sardegna has finally arrived at the store! The response to last year’s offer was so enthusiastic, we made sure to double up on quantities. That said, once it’s gone, it’ll be gone until the next vintage as we have only one shot at ordering this wine. The introductory 2013 vintage was delicious and I predicted it would probably end up being winemaker’s Antonio Sanguineti’s most successful offering. Sure enough, I was right. Antonio upped his production by securing more grapes from his friends on the island, those same friends for whom he works for as a consultant. So to those who bought the 2013 and loved it, I am confident the 2014 will not disappoint. As a whole, 2014 was a difficult vintage for red wines in Italy, especially in northern appellations where August rains caused havoc. However, these unfavorable weather conditions did not reach as far south as Sardinia and Sicily, where in fact the vintage is considered excellent.
Antonio in the forefront
Cannonau is the most widely planted red grape on Sardinia.The common belief is that Cannonau is the same grape as Spain’s Garnacha, though some purists and ampelographers aren’t so sure. After reading a lengthy article laying out a scientific argument for whether or not Cannonau and Garnacha are the same grape, I concluded that for most of the wine drinking population – who cares? What is important to note is that there is commonality in flavor profile between them and so it’s natural to recommend a Cannonau di Sardegna to anyone who is an enthusiast of southern red Rhônes and Spanish Garnacha or visa versa. Though I’ve heard from our customers on more than one occasion that for their palate, Cannonau di Sardegna is far more interesting and pleasurable than most Grenache they’ve tried. AgainMother Nature shows us that something planted here does not taste the same when planted over there – one of the many reasons why I find wine endlessly interesting.
Stocked and ready for purchase
Antonio sources his Cannonau grapes near the seaside town of Villesimius which sits along the southeastern tip of the island. Unoaked, this red is jam-packed with dusty berry flavors buoyed up by a complementary thread of acidity that keeps the flavors popping. The aromas are a mix of fresh and faded berry notes and some dried herb.Overall it has a smooth presence on the palate, making it pleasurable sipping on its own, though at the table is where it really sings. This is not a monster red, but it will stand up to beef and lamb. Fire up the grill!
This is how we do Paella! (no relevance to this newsletter)
School started for my daughter this week. It was a bit of a shock getting up so early for all of us except for the dog who remained snoozing in his bed. It probably wouldn’t have been as painful for me if I hadn’t stayed up so late watching the Olympics. It was well worth it. School might have started but summer is not over yet! I’ve got at least until after Labor Day, right? So far, this summer has been wonderful. Far less stressful than the last couple of summers and filled with family gatherings, visits with friends and excursions around Northern California. This weekend I’m going to lay low and catch up with household chores (mostly filling out and signing paperwork for school). A trip to the Farmer’s Market is a must as it’s SHOWTIME there with summer’s harvest in full swing. I’ll probably end up buying way too many tomatoes (not really, not possible!), squash and fruit. My husband will be grilling something on the Weber and the 2014 Cannonau di Sardegna from Sanguineti will be in my glass. Cheers to an endless summer!– Anya Balistreri
Sardinia, an island off the west coast of Italy, is beginning to get its fair share of attention for producing distinctive, delicious wines. The red grape most commonly planted on the island is Cannonau, known as Grenache in France, Garnacha in Spain. (Oh how I adore this grape!) The appellation Cannonau di Sardegna DOC spans the entire island however most of the vineyards planted to Cannonau are found along the eastern side. In general, Cannonau di Sardegna is noted for its potent, dark flavors as well as coming in different styles from dry to sweet. The2013 Cannonau di Sardegna from Antonio Sanguineti is packed with dry red cherry fruit, a slight earthy backbone and an open-armed fruit appeal. At $12.98, its the sort of wine you can, and should, load up on. It has enough fruit boldness to satiate your red wine desireswithout overwhelming the palate with heavy tannins and over-extracted fruit which during hot summer months can be a real turn-off.
When Antonio Sanguineti was still a young boy in Tuscany, his family lost their ancestral vineyards.Winemaking remained in Antonio’s blood despite being without a vineyard. Today Antonio works as a consultant with several estates. He has earned deep respect for his skills as a winemaker, even being dubbed “Il Maestro” by his colleagues. It is through these relationships that Antonio buys grapes for his own label. His production remains small and with relatively low-overhead manages to make terrific wine at modest prices. TheCannonau di Sardegna is the latest venture for Antonio and I’m betting one of his most successful. I was shown a sample bottle of the 2013 Sanguineti Cannonau back in March. It had not yet been imported into the states but was presented to me as a pre-arrival. I was immediately smitten by the unoaked, pure red berry flavors. A touch of pomegranate gave the wine a bit of tang. I knew it was a wine that would find many a happy home with our customers.
The 2013 Cannonau di Sardegna from Sanguinetifinally arrived this week after a few delays thanks to the continuing backlog at docks along the west coast. Tasting wine at home is quite a different experience than tasting at the store, so I didn’t hesitate to buy a bottle of the 2013 Sanguineti Cannonau di Sardegna to see how it faired away from work. A super quick-n-easy meal of grilled lamb burgers with a corn and squash succotash proved to be a delicious accompaniment to the wine. The Cannonau really took to the fattiness and gaminess of the lamb.Maybe that is why the grape has remained on the island long through its vinous history suppling wine for their long-standing sheep-raising culture.