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Sardinia (Sardengna)

Large potential due to geography and climate. Varietal whites produced from Vermentino and reds from Cannoau (Grenache).



Sometimes spelt Cannonao, the Sardinian name for the widely planted red grape variety known in Spain as garnacha and in France as grenache. A high proportion of the grapes are grown on the east of the island to produce a varietal Cannonau di Sardegna, which comes in several forms, but most commonly as a full-throttle dryish red. Although the variety has lost ground since the mid 1990s, partly because as a bush vine it is low-yielding and expensive to cultivate, 5,422 ha/13,400 acres of Cannonau were recorded in the Italian vine census of 2010. The admirable Cannonau-based Turriga made by the Argiolas winery near Cagliari, whose development was greatly aided by the work of consultant Giacomo Tachis (see antinori), showed what could be achieved from the island’s old Cannonau vines.



Attractive, aromatic white grape variety widely grown in north western Italy, Sardinia, to a limited extent in Corsica, and in southern France, where it is a recently permitted variety in many appellations. dna profiling showed it is identical to the Ligurian pigato, the Piedmont variety favorita and has long been considered identical to the rolle of Provence (although this has yet to be confirmed by DNA profiling). France has the world’s greatest area planted with Vermentino/Rolle: 4,721 ha/11,660 acres by 2011, considerably boosted by recent plantings in the Languedoc, fuelled by varietal fashion. The Var département grows about 1,500 ha, about the same as the entire Languedoc-Roussillon, and it is both the southern Rhône’s and Corsica’s most planted white grape variety dominating the island’s white appellation contrôlée wines. The wines vary from floral to citrus but are almost always refreshing. The Italian vine census of 2010 records 4,562 ha/11,273 acres of Vermentino Bianco, 220 ha of Favorita (the traditional pale-skinned grape of roero), and 264 ha of Pigato. (Ligurians long distinguished between their Pigato and Vermentino, and they may well be different clones of the same variety.) In Sardinia, Vermentino is the most planted white wine grape and is often picked deliberately early to retain acid levels but still manages to produce lively wines of character, although attempts at a richer, fuller style have also emerged, notably from Capichera in the Vermentino di Gallura docg. The interest in indigenous white grape varieties has been a boon for those growers along the Tuscan coast who had either the foresight or good fortune to plant Vermentino, for prices have been firm, with demand far outstripping supply. Some Vermentino is also grown on Malta, in Lebanon, in California, Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina but of the non-European wine producers, the land of alternative varieties, Australia, has been quickest to embrace this popular variety with plantings in many different regions. Vermentino Nero is a minor, unrelated Tuscan red wine grape once almost extinct.


Sardegna: General

2nd largest Mediterranean island with quality potential but underdeveloped wine industry


Sardegna: Climate and Weather

Mediterranean climate except on the interior plateaus (continental).

Mistral wind most prevalent in winter & spring.


Sardegna: Typography and Soils

Coasts are high and rocky; mainly hills and plains (more than 85%).


Sardegna: Cannonau aka Grenache

Hardy variety that produces full bodied wines, hi in alcohol w cherry & red berry flavour but also leathery, earthy even gamey characters


Sardegna: Carignano aka Carignan

Deep colour w firm tannins & more concentration vs. Cannonau.

Found mainly in south-western part of the island


Sardegna: Other Red Grape Varieties

Monica, Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot


Sardegna: Vermentino aka Rolle

Aromatic white grape w hi acidity & citrus tang similar to Roussanne


Sardegna: Other White Grape Varieties

Moscato, Malvasia (both mainly for sweet
and/or fortified wines), Vernaccia


Key Appellations

Alghero DOC (R/W/R)
- The largest producing area in the North-west of the island.
- Wines are mainly blends from local varieties

Vermentino di Gallura DOCG (W)
- Only DOCG of the Island; large area covering the northern tip of the Island
- Fruity, fresh white made from Vermentino. Best examples have exotic and aromatic nuances.

Others: Cannonau di Sardegna, Alghero DOC


Sardegna: Production and Key Producers

- 30,000ha for 0.9m hl/yr & 18% DOC.

- Most of the production is dominated by large cooperative and consumed on the island.

- Tenuta Sella & Mosca (7m btls) is more than 100yrs and one of the most dynamic. Signature wine is the Alghero