CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA DOC is a regional DOC for a potent red wine made on Sardinia (Sardegna) from Cannonau, the island’s signature grape and possibly the forebear of Spain’s Garnacha, and thus France’s Grenache Noir. 

TERROIR | ‘A high proportion of the grapes are grown on the east of the island,’ (Oxford Companion, 2006, p134). Three notable sub-zones Most of the wine comes from the following areas: Oliena, central Sardinia: the Barbagia, Baronie, and Ogliastra hills in Nuoro province (wine from the townships of Oliena and Orgosolo may be called Oliena or Nepenthe di Oliena; Capo Ferrato, south-eastern Sardinia. The Sarrabus hills in the eastern part of Cagliari province (wine from the townships of Muravera, San Vito, Villaputzo, and Villasimius may be called Capo Ferrato; and Jerzu, east central Sardinia, from the Anglona hills and the plains above Alghero in Sassari province (Burton Anderson, 1990, p291). 

VITICULTURE | Historically Cannonau was spur pruned to the alberello system. Gradually, however, the alberello system [spur pruned bush vines] is being replaced by espalier [caned pruned, vertically shoot positioned to wires] which give lower alcohol wines and higher yields. 

WINE STYLES | Cannonau is made in a number of different styles eg. dry, sweet and fortified, with even the lightest ‘secco’ style being described as ‘no shrinking violet’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p291). The richer, darker-coloured, longer-lasting ‘amabile’, ‘dolce’ and ‘liquoroso’ versions are made from partially dried grapes (Burton Anderson, 1990, p291).

Rosato From 90% Cannonau, 10% other permitted red varieties. Can be made as an ‘amabile’. 

Rosso, dry red also made as ‘amabile’ and ‘riserva’. Made mainly from Cannonau with minor additions of Bovale Grande, Bovale Sardo. Carignano, Pascale di Cagliari, Monica, Vernaccia. Can reach 15% alcohol.

Rosso riserva must have matured for two years. 

Rosso superiore naturale Same grapes as Rosso. Can be dry, ‘amabile’, or ‘dolce’. The grapes can be semi-dried or ‘passito’. 

Liquoroso Fortified red. Same grapes as Rosso. Also ‘secco’ or ‘dolce naturale’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p291). 

Liquoroso Secco has an alcohol level of 18% vol, the Liquoroso Dolce Naturale has 16% vol.


NO CERTIFICATION | Cantina Giogantinu


Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p88-9.

Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).