The History of Cannonau
According to the latest research, Cannonau is a 100% Sardinian grape. The Sardinian origin has been widely documented and certified by historical and ampleographical studies confirming that Cannonau does not have Spanish paternity. Many scholars, in fact, mistakenly believed that Cannonau, known in Spain as Garnacha, was imported from the Iberian Peninsula in Sardinia in 1400 AD during the Spanish rule, but it is most likely the opposite or rather, that the Spaniards began to cultivate this variety after they found it in Sardinia. In fact, Cannonau seeds dating back to 1200 BC were found during recent archaeological excavations in the province of the Medio Campidano. During that period of time, the ancient inhabitants of the island who sailed around the Mediterranean could have helped spread Cannonau in Spain, and in particular, in Seville where it is called Canonazo and in Aragona where it takes the name of Garnacha, and finally in France, where it is known as Grenache.
Synonyms of Cannonau:
Canonau, Cannonao, Canonadu, Cannonatu, Retagliadu Nieddu.
The Cannonau Vine
Cannonau is the most common red grape variety in Sardinia. From an ampleographic point of view, the characteristics of Cannonau are mainly found in the leaf, which is reniform or orbicular, completely smooth and hairless, and bright shiny green in color, with regular toothed edges. The woody shoots are light in color, with short internodes. The grape cluster is tight and medium sized with a cylindrical – conical shape, with medium to small, dark purple grapes that are rich with pink colored wax and juice, and a characteristic aroma. The harvesting period is medium – late season (end of September). From an agronomic point of view, Cannonau is a rather vigorous vine, with an average production. It has a remarkable ability to adapt, which justifies its findings in many areas that have very different climate and soils. Cannonau is produced throughout Sardinia, with the exception of unsuitable lands that are excessively calcareous, with weak thickness and steep slopes, or those of recent alluvial and hydromorphic soils of the coastal areas affected by the events of alkalinization and salinisation.
“Cannonau di Sardegna” wines must be made with grapes that come from Cannonau vineyards. Thus, Cannonau grapes can be used alone or in combination, to a maximum extent of 10% with other recommended or authorized red grape varieties from Sardinia. Cannonau wine takes its name from the grapes and can be both a still and/or dessert wine. “Cannonau di Sardegna” red wine is ruby red, tending to garnet with aging. It has a pleasant smell, and the taste is dry, savory and characteristic. Cannonau must have a minimum alcohol volume of 12.5%. The sugar content of the must is quite high, while the acidity is moderate. Its aroma is particularly pronounced in heavy soils of the plains and sandy coastal areas, while more tenuous and delicate in granite soils, as well as when the grapes are harvested earlier than standard in Sardinia.
“Cannonau di Sardegna” wines are regulated by a Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of November 5, 1992, which replaced DPR July 21, 1972 (as amended by the Ministerial Decree of 29 June 1992).