What is Cannonau?
The island of Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy, produces a red wine called "Cannonau."
There is some debate over the exact nature and origin of Cannonau, especially among Sardinians, but it is generally accepted in the wine world that Cannonau is the same grape as Grenache. Grenache is commonly grown in France, Spain, Australia, and California, where it is often used as part of a blend because of its low tannins and high alcohol levels. The addition of other grapes (e.g., Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon) adds more structure and more flavor complexity to the wine. Sardinia is one of the few places where it is not blended.
One of the curiosities of Cannonau is its link to the longevity of Sardinians, many of whom live to be over 90 years old. Cannonau has an unusually high level of antioxidants which come from compounds found in the skins of the grapes. Antioxidants help fight against the breakdown of cells in our body and are linked to improved heart health and reduced instances of infection and some cancers. Many Sardinians are known to drink multiple glasses of Cannonau a day.
Grenache brings spice and red fruit flavors, especially strawberry, red cherry and red berry, to a wine. Most Cannonau wines are aged in oak for a period of time so the wines will also develop secondary flavors of vanilla, tobacco, and cedar.
International Grenache Day is always the third Friday in September, so this year celebrate like a Sardinian and have a couple glasses of Cannanou. Salute!
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