Picture: Juli Kosolaova (Unsplash)
The ideal conditions for the production of red and white wines prevail on the Mediterranean island. Intense and numerous sunny days, combined with the Mediterranean climate, allow the vines to fully develop. Rainy days are extremely rare in summer and only increase again in autumn. At the same time, a constant wind usually blows and aerates the vineyards. The south of Sardinia is significantly warmer than the north of the island and is therefore particularly well suited for the cultivation of red wine.
Among the best known autochthonous red wine varieties of Sardinia we count the following:
- Cannonau: Also known as "the wine of the centenarians" and the lifeblood of the Sardinians. In color mostly ruby red to garnet red. It is grown all over the island and displays a fascinating variety of aromas depending on the location of the winery. The Cannonau grape usually produces well-structured, intense, fruity, soft red wines that go well with meat - especially game dishes, but also with Italian classics such as pizza and pasta. In the hot Sardinian summer, it is also often served chilled, which we usually know from white wines or rosé wines. Incidentally, it also produces wonderfully fruity rosé wines, which we can recommend to every rosé lover.
- Monica: The Monica di Sardegna is also an autochthonous grape variety from Sardinia, which we often find on the wine shelves in this country. Mostly ruby red in color with violet reflections. Wines from this Sardinian grape variety are extremely soft, fruity, berry with fine tannins. While the Cannonau often reaches 14% alcohol or even more, wines from the Monica are more likely to be found in the range between 13.0 - 13.5% alcohol. It also goes well with meat dishes, but also with pasta and cheese.
- Carignan: The Carignan or Carignano is mainly grown in the Sulcis region, in south-eastern Sardinia. The Sardinians used to prefer the grape variety to be blended with other red wines, but today it is often made into a single variety. It is known for its aromas of dark berries, spices and herbs as well as the typical aromas of the Sardinian maquis. The Carignan literally demands longer storage in barrique barrels. The result is well-structured, harmonious red wines with beautifully integrated tannins.
- Bovale: The development of Bovale is similar to that of Carignan. From a classic blend grape to a true regional wine pearl of Sardinia. Bovale vines can be found all over the island, but their center is clearly in the area around Nuoro and Oristano. The Bovale produces very dark, powerful red wines with noticeable tannins. Aromas of dark berries, plums and herbal notes combine to create balanced, full-bodied red wines full of character.
Cagnulari: With its IGT status, the Cagnulari Isola del Nuraghi is one of Sardinia's protected-of-origin wines and is mainly grown in the north of the island around Sassari. Fascinatingly spicy red wines are produced from the grape variety, with fruity-fresh berry notes, which are characterized in particular by their gentleness and softness. A real insider tip among red wines.
In addition to the autochthonous grape varieties presented, internationally known red wine varieties such as Merlot, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon are also grown in Sardinia. However, especially in the last 10 years, a return to the traditional Sardinian grape varieties can be observed. Old grape varieties are being rediscovered by young winegrowers and are experiencing a true renaissance. A nice development that shows which wine gifts are produced by combining tradition and a return to nature with innovative winemaking and youthful entrepreneurial spirit.