2019 Giuseppe Sedilesu, Granazza, Barbagia IGT Bianco, Mamoiada, Sardinia, Italy.
The exotic and uniquely made Giuseppe Sedilesu Granazza is an all biodynamically grown skin contact white wine that leans into the orange wine style with a dried fruit and savory character, making it a cool, geeky and complex wine that is not at all traditional and even uncommon in Sardinia. The long and mysterious history of this varietal, which shares some similarities to Vermentino, but might be more closely related to the islands famous Cannonau (Grenache), making it a fascinating grape to taste on its own, especially done in this natural way by Sedilesu, who is something of a cult hero on Sardinia, though sadly his wines rarely travel to the states. This Granazza, bright yellow gold in the glass seems older than the vintage would make you believe, but that said it is not a bad thing at all with a quality that reminds me of older Riesling with apricot, dehydrated orange, muskmelon, quince and tangy papaya fruits and with hint of almonds, wet stones, peach pit bitterness and dried rose petals, plus a kick of savory tannin and earthiness. Those that like some skin contact, but not funk, like the wines made from Vitovska in Venezia-Giulia, as a point of comparison, will enjoy this intriguing wine that takes just out of your comfort zone. The Sedilesu wines are made with low sulfites and offering up loads of transparency and earthy character, and while known for their excellent and nervy Cannonau (Grenache) based wines, the Granazza, mineral driven whites are delicacies that should not get overlooked!
The ancient Granazza grape, as mentioned above, is a very rare white varietal mainly found around the town of Mamoiada in the centre of Sardinia, with some people believing it to be a synonym of or related to Nuragus, though as always seems the case, early research by ampelographers had many believing that Granazza was likely introduced to the island by the Phoenicians. That now seems unlikely and the grape has a long history on the island that most likely predates that scenario and it is recently been linked with a mutation of Cannonau, Sardinia’s Grenache, though it doesn’t any connection to Grenache Blanc or Grenache Gris, which happened in southern France and parts of Spain much later. It is absolutely fascinating how much we don’t know about wine history and grapes on Sardinia, with 4,000 years of proven winemaking here! The more I learn, the more that I question and wonder about Sardinia and it really makes me what to go there! The vineyards of Mamoiada are up high and get great air flow through the vines, set between 700 to 900 meters on soil that is granitic based and the temperature range, according to Sedilesu is ideal to produce organic grapes of outstanding quality with concentration and high acidity. For this Granazza, Gianni Sedilesu, one of the area’s most respected wine producers went with a 7 day skin contact, which provides the phenolics and stability here, whole cluster pressing and fermented with indigenous yeasts, then it was aged in neutral cask for just under a year and then cellared for more than a year before release. This naturally crafted rarity is aging well and looks set to go another 5 to 7 years and should be enjoyed with rustic farm cheeses and or briny dishes.
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive