Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2009
Just as Nebbiolo is synonymous with Piemonte and Sangiovese is deeply rooted in the winemaking traditions of Toscana, Sardegna’s wine identity is linked to Cannanou. Sardegna’s distinctive wine customs are intertwined with its historical roots. The island’s many foreign inhabitants have had a major influence on its distinctive wine culture which is much different than that found on the boot.
Sardegna’s wine history has been influenced more by Spain– which ruled the island for more than 400 years– than by the rest of the Italian Peninsula. The island’s inaccessibility (the shortest boat trip is 5 hours to the mainland) has left it with few similarities to the wine traditions celebrated in the rest of Italy.
The wine customs of the island is characterized by grapes that are seldom seen in other parts of Italy. And Cannonau is the local hero. The varietal is by far the most important red grape of Sardegna. Though many have claimed that it’s a local form of the Spanish Garnacha and thus known as Grenache in France, the grape’s origins are still a matter of heated debate.
No estate has banked its reputation on Cannonau more so that Alberto Loi. The family, now run by its fourth generation, tends to vines that have been under their control since the late 1940s. They are devoted to Cannonau, which comprises their finest wines, but also have plantings of Vermentino, Nuragus, Monica, Carignano, Cagnulari, Moscato, and Nasco. Though prime vineyard sights have always played a major role in the quality of their wines, using new wine techniques has helped them gain swift recognition as a go to estate on the island.
Alberto Loi began producing wines of really excellent quality that were nothing like the cheap examples that were flooding the market of the times. He eschewed the temptation to change the expression of the varietal. He advocated for a strict control of all elements of winemaking from vine to bottle. His approach was much different than many of his counterparts: low yields, stressed vines, no fertilizers, and modern winemaking techniques, which are the standard practices that many mimic today.
Come join us at Babbo in the month of November to enjoy a bottle of the 2009 Alberto Loi Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the bountiful flavors of Chef Frank Langello’s Fall inspired menu. The wines notes of cherry, plum, pomegranate, flint, black pepper, and spice make it a versatile pairing with lamb, pork, game, and cheeses.