Tasting notes: A bright garnet-red moving to pink and a hint of orange at the rim, with vibrant, inviting aromas of wild strawberry, red currant, blood orange, lavender, coriander, myrtle, licorice, and pepper. It is medium-bodied, with silky tannins facilitating early drinking, and like most Cannonau of this style I suggest serving it on the cooler side—55-60 degrees—in Burgundy stems to accentuate the fruit and florals.
Producer: Vinicola Cherchi is located in the northwestern corner of Sardinia, between Sassari and Alghero, in a village called Usini. Giovanni Cherchi started out here with two hectares of vines in 1970, selling his fruit to nearby co-ops, before starting to bottle his own wines in 1980. Although he remains the family figurehead, the day-to-day operations today fall to his children—Salvatore, Annalisa, and Maria. The estate has grown to 30 hectares of sustainably-farmed vines in one of Italy’s most varied, most productive agricultural landscapes. Alghero, and the Mediterranean, are just a half-hour away, exposing the vines to sea breezes and the favorable day-night temperature swings they bring. Of their 30 hectares, just 5% are planted to Cannonau, in soils of clay, sand, and limestone.
Vineyard and Winemaking: The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC (denomination of controlled origin) covers the entire island, which accounts for at least some of the stylistic variations in the wines. Italian wine fans often hear descriptions of Sardinia’s soils as being solidly granitic—which they often are, as in the Gallura region in the northeast. As it does in Burgundy, the limestone of the Sassari-Usini area appears to have a positive effect on the Cannonau grown there, especially in terms of its finesse and freshness.
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