2022 Impromptu, Cannonau di Sardegna, Iscusòlzu, Nepente di Oliena, Sardinia, Italy.
The second wine from Impromptu collection, called Iscusòlzu, 100% Cannonau (Grenache), is more old world and gripping than its sister wine that I reviewed already with a more raw and savory personality, showing a bit more tannin and deeper more earthy dark fruits. This purple/garnet Cannonau di Sardegna from the hillside Nepente di Oliena region on Sardinia has a medium bodied palate with black raspberry, plum and red currant fruit, along with bay leaf, leather, stemmy herbal notes, dried flowers and anise. Cannonau is his main focus of Giuséppi Còssu, who is working with a few small family vineyards, again as noted in my previous review, in the cooler higher elevation hillsides of the Nepente di Oliena, where bold flavors develop from mature head trained and dry farmed vines, which are set on sandy granite based soils. The wines here are noted for their deep concentration, a generous nature, but with good acidity and balance, as seen in Còssu’s 2022 wines, including this Iscusòlzu, a wine that is in particular a good food companion, which is how I enjoyed it. The origin of Cannonau’s name, as Còssu tells it, is because of a peculiar characteristic of the grape, which: can have a reluctance to release it color into the must. So to achieve its deep purple/ruby color, the ancient Sardinian winemakers stirred the must with a large wood cane that looked somewhat like a big wooden spoon, stopping when they had achieved the right hue. It is well documented that In the local dialect, this somewhat unique tool was called a cannonau, hence the name.
Winemaker Giuséppi Còssu, with the help of Gostolai, a well respected local producer based in the Nepenti di Oliena appellation, has had access to sustainable old vine hillside grapes, to craft his Impromptu wines, named after his love of jazz improvisation, following his micro test lot in 2019 and is an impressive effort. As mentioned in my prior review, Còssu a jazz drummer, a native of Sardinia and now living on the central coast in Monterey is an admirer the natural wine movement, especially with what he has tasted from Beaujolais, like the wines of Dutraive and Foillard and some of the Loire Valley legends, but is without a fanatical dogma in his own wines. Giuséppi has long history in wine both in his homeland where he was a sommelier and bistro owner that also helped his grandfather make homemade wines as a kid to being a Italian wine specialist from many importers over the years, who currently is finishing up his extension enology degree in winemaking at UC Davis. His itch to make wine in his native land led him to find vineyard sources close to where he grew up and to craft a wine in the old world traditions with Cannonau being his chosen grape. This 2022 vintage saw almost 100% whole bunches, a foot trod crush, native yeast fermentation and hand punch downs durning maceration in ancient wood vats before being pressed to neutral, very old, French barriques for close to 9 months, all done to promote purity and transparency, very much evident in Giuséppi Còssu’s Iscusòlzu. I was thrilled with all three of the Impromptu wines I’ve tried to date, one a 2019 and two 2022s, all of which are two or three barrel small lot offerings and I’m excited that these wines look to be imported to California in the new year.
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive