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Cannonau Wines

General description of the Cannonau wine and territory

The most typical wine from Sardegna “Cannonau” also called, almost in Sardegna, Cannonao, Cannonadu or Canonau is produced by the vine with black grapes most common in Sardegna.

This vine is cultivated and developed in the Sardegna territory. It prefers the Ogliastra territory, the Baronie, the Nuorese and all the neighbor areas,  the Romangia and  other minor areas such as the Mandrolisai and the Burcerese. 

In Sardegna, the vines and the wines are always been the characterizing element of the Mediterranean civilizations, of the local culture and sociology. Sardegna for tis geography and its eco-pedology conditions extremely diversify has optimal characteristics for the vine growth both natural then cultivated.  The modern theories suppose that the vine from the Caucasus, passing through the Mesopotamia, the Anatolia and Egypt arrived in the occidental Mediterranean area.  This typology arrived in Sardegna by the Phoenician the first Mediterranean colonizers.  The vine cultivation is by now, an intrinsic cultural aspect of Sardegna that permits to be a join factor. This process with all the aspect concerning the vine itself as for example the taming of the “Vitis vinifera sylvestris", widespread in all the Isle territory.

The presence of the Cannonau on the Island date back to immemorial times. There are traces of the XVII century when a visitor of king Martin Carrillo and the Franciscan Giorgio Aleo respectively in 1612 and in 1677 talked about Cañonates wines with a particular prestigious produced in all Italy  (Cit. AA.VV. La Storia della vite e del vino in Sardegna, 1999). During the following centuries there are more precise descriptions of the vines such as the Manca dell’Arca (XVIII century) which quoted the Cannonau and the one of (XIX century) of Moris even more accurate which classify the vine from Sardegna as “Vitis prestans”. At the half of ‘800 the priest Vittorio Angius gave a testify of the diffusion of the Cannonau which described  town by town with detailed information on the viticulture of that time, and on the vines cultivated in the different areas. In fact also in the scientific census commissioned by the Cagliari university, the Cannonau is the vine the most spread in the Island because it found the best climatic conditions to settle in.


Similar wine produced with the same grapes of the Cannonau DOC

The denominazione di origine controllata “Cannonau di Sardegna” is reserved to the following typologies wines:  “Cannonau di Sardegna” Rosso Riserva; “Cannonau di Sardegna” Passito; “Cannonau di Sardegna” Liquoroso; “Cannonau di Sardegna” classico. The specification “classico” is allowed only for the wines coming from Nuoro and Ogliastra provinces. To these wines according to the conditions of the technical policies of production are also allowed the following sub-areas: Oliena or Nepente di Oliena, Capo Ferrato, Jerzu.

The Riserva, Classico e Liquoroso (dessert wine) denominations differ from their refinement and aging processes, as resumed. The Riserva has to be aged for at least 2 years in which 6 months in wood barrels. The Classico has to be aged at least 2 years in which 12 months in wood barrels. The Liquoroso has to be refined for 6 months in wood barrel after 3 years of aging.


The grapes used for the Cannonau wine

The DOC wines of the “Cannonau di Sardegna” has to be obtained by grapes of particular vines which has to have the following ampelographic characteristics.

Cannonau: is present for at least a 85%; to this there could be added vines with black grapes, not aromatic, suitable to be cultivated in Sardegna, enroll in the national register of the vine varieties for the production of wines, and present in the vine yards for a maximum of 15%.

The DOC “Cannonau di Sardegna” with denominated “Classico” has to have the following specifics:

Cannonau: minimum 90%; to this there could be added vines with black grapes, not aromatic, suitable to be cultivated in Sardegna, enroll in the national register of the vine varieties for the production of wines, and present in the vine yards for a maximum of 10%.


Analysis of this red wine from Sardegna


It has a bright and shiny ruby red color and more garnet in the most refined versions.

The scent

It has a ripe fruits flavors such as prunes and black berries, sometimes spicy, ethereal tending to be resinated, wide, floral with a wither rose aroma.  It has generally a fresh, spicy, ripe scent with floral aromas.

The taste

The taste is dry and rich, warm, soft and full. It has a light tannic and bitter aftertaste.

Suggested service temperature and wine glass for the Cannonau

It has to be served between 16°and 18°C in “Ballon” wine glasses.


Suggested matches for the Cannonau

The best matches are for sure the one with the typical dishes from Sardegna such as the piglet, kid and lamb roasted meats. It is perfect also with braised beefs and game and generally all the good cooked red meats. Very appreciable is also the union between the Cannonau and the cheeses especially the flavored and aged ones such as the classical pecorino sardo.

Finally the Cannonau di Sardegna in the sweet Liquoroso version is excellent with the dessert, dry bakery and fruit salads.