Italian wine: Sardinia Living with Sella & Mosca's Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva
- WTI Magazine #146 Dec 18, 2021
As we enter the colder days heading into winter one can only dream of the warm days passed or sitting on an island soaking in the rays. Lets venture to the second largest island in Italy, Sardinia, to explore one of the well-known wineries, Sella & Mosca, and their Cannonau Riserva.
Sardinia is located in the western part of the Mediterranean. It’s Italy’s third largest region after Sicily and Tuscany. Sardinia is separated by the French island of Corsica to the north by the Straight of Bonifacio. Farther out to the west are the Spanish Balearic Islands. To the East Sardinia is separated from Italy by the Tyrrhenian Sea and just south is Africa.
Consisting of 1,100 miles of coastline, Sardinia is of course filled with plenty of beaches, but is also a rather rugged terrain. It’s predominantly a mountainous and hilly landscape filled with cliffs along the sea, forests and scrub. Many of locals live more inland and are hunters opposed to how we typically would live here in such a serene setting along the seaside line with many having an occupation of fishing.
As one can imagine the weather here is Mediterranean and quite hot. Thankfully there is a strong mistral wind that blows through the island that helps reduce humidity and moderate the temperatures.
The Winery: Sella & Mosca
Sella & Mosca started in 1899 with Mr. Sella, an engineer, and Mr. Mosca, a lawyer that acquired land on the northwestern corner of Sardinia in Alghero. They at first created a nursey for rootstocks, which was crucial to have phylloxera free vines when the disease was tearing through Europe in the early 1900’s.
Their estate is located on 1,600 acres with 1,200 acres dedicated to vineyards, one of the largest continuous acreage of vines in Italy. Their wines are produced from estate grown grapes primarily focused on the native grapes of Sardinia with a small percentage of international varieties.
Sella & Mosca’s winemaker, Giovanni Anna, is partnered with Giuseppe Caviola, one of Italy’s known wine consultants. Today the winery is under the umbrella of Terra Moretti Vino. They produce their Cannonau in Alghero and also their Vermentino in Berchiddeddu of the Gallera and their Carignano in Giva of Sulcis.
Cannonau is Sardinia’s predominant grape and rules the larger production of wines for the region along with the white grape, Vermentino. It’s genetically related to the Spanish grape Garnacha. Cannnonau’s home resides in the eastern part of Sardinia in the Nuoro, which is the Classico area for this grape. Half of the Cannonau wines produced in Sardinia hail from this area.
The wine I’m sharing today is the 2017 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Riserva. The Cannonau di Sardegna DOC encompasses the whole island. In order to be labeled under this DOC the wines must be made of a minimum of 85% Cannonau with additional local varieties that may include Bovale, Pascale and Carignano. The Cannonau Riserva require at least 13% alcohol with 2+ years of aging with at least 6 months spent in oak.
I quite enjoyed this 2017 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC Riserva made from 100% Cannonau. Translucent ruby in color. Aromas of deep cherries, blackberries, chocolate and spice quickly pull you in. With a juicy acidity up front that lingers on the palate. Medium bodied with low tanning. Black fruits and cherry still present on the palate with notes of leather and herbs. The importer is Taub Family Selections. ABV 14% SRP $12-17