2019 Vigne Surrau, Naracu, Cannonau di Sardegna DOC, Sardinia, Italy.
Located in Porto Cervo, in Arzachena, on the Island of Sardinia Vigne Surrau is a new producer to me and I tasted through their exciting range of red and white wines, finding them all delicious and expressive bottlings, with this entry level 100% Grenache Naracu Cannonau di Sardegna DOC really standing out for quality and value, along with their range of Vermentinos that go from bright and fresh to deep and luxurious. The Vigne Surrau Naracu is a dark ruby/garnet in the glass and has a full and fruit forward nose and pleasingly weighted palate with satiny layers of sweet red berry fruit, showing strawberry, plum and brambly raspberry along with a touch of peony, minty anise, mocha and dusty spices. The winery notes, Naracu refer to fortresses that were once built by ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, hence the name Naracu (or Nuraghe), these ruins can still be found across the island of Sardegna, which was a coveted trading post that has been ruled by dozens of different empires, including Spain and France, before finally being controlled by Italy in the late 1800s. The Naracu is the most open of the set of wines here at Surrau and easy to enjoy in its youth, it goes great with a wide selection of cuisine, though great with Sardinia’s local specialities from sea foods to gamey lamb dishes, its fruity nature goes great with the rustic dishes here and or where you are. I really enjoyed it with cheeses and grilled meats when I tasted it and was impressed by how it gained complexity with air, it is a supple version of this grape and serious for the price. The Vigne Surrau Naracu Cannonau di Sardegna DOC came from the classic sandy and granite influenced soils, sourced from 20 year old sustainable vines and fermented and aged solely in stainless steel tanks to promote freshness and purity, it saw a short elevage of about 6 months before bottling and is thus not as early or oaky as the more age worthy bottlings here, but that said I liked this wine just as much!
Sardinia is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and is Italy’s second largest island, after Sicily, it is a rugged and remote mountainous place that has bred a tough and independent people that have a long and proud history, with a long historical claim to Grenache, as it has been on the Island for the better part of a thousand years. While the locals claim that Grenache was born here, most of the wine world believe Grenache, which is indigenous to Spain, where it is known as Garnacha, was dispersed around the western Mediterranean by the Aragon kingdom, which ruled Sardegna between 1297 and 1713 and brought here by the Spanish. Oddly, maybe even ironic, and romantically the name Cannonau comes from when Napoleon’s forces concurred the Island, the Spanish defenders fought to the last cannon ball, earning the respect of the native population that then called Grenache Cannonau in honor of that bravery! The terroir on Sardinia is a unique mix of rocky and deep sandy soils that are surrounded by unspoiled wilderness, and as the winery notes, oak and cork tree forests and a thorny scrubland of herbs and cacti known as the macchia mediterranea. In stark contrast to the harsh interior, the island has over 1,200 miles of jagged coastline, which is home to some of the most pristine beaches of the Mediterranean, which the locals have to share with the rich and famous that keep building holiday villas. In one of these spectacular coastal settings is Costa Smeralda or the Emerald Coast, which is located in the northeast corner of the island, it is home to the largest and most important wine zone in Sardegna, this is the Gallura zone, famous mostly for Vermentino. Gallura was the first and only Sardinian DOCG, it means “stony area” which aptly describes the granite-based soils that gives these wines their mineral focus, while the terroir provides lush ripeness. Most of the best Grenache or Cannonau is grown on sand, very much like parts of Chateauneuf du Pape and or California’s Contra Costa County, making for dense fruited wines like this beauty from Surrau!
($18 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive