Chessa Cagnulari 2020
The grape variety Cagnulari is either indigenous to Sardinia, or genetically identical to the Spanish variety Graciano, depending on who you believe. (The Sardinian red wines we’ve seen here in the US have mostly been limited to Cannonau, it’s good to see something different.) Ian d’Agata thinks the variety might be a biotype of the Sardinian variety Bovale Sardo, which is indigenous.
In any case, it’s very dark in color, both flavorful and fresh, combining the wild herb aroma (called ‘garrigue’ in France, or ‘macchia’ in Italian) that is so common in Mediterranean wines with strong black and red fruit aromas and flavors. Fresh acidity and fine tannins make it very versatile with food; despite being from so far south, this is not at all jammy or ‘cooked’; yet another example of an elegant wine from the very south of Italy.
Decanter – “The varietal overlap between Sardinia and Spain is a fascinating story in its own right, and too complicated a matter to discuss here. What we have got the space to say, though, is that this Cagnulari (the same variety as Spain’s Graciano) manages to achieve an aromatic poise and lively complexity on the palate which many in Spain would envy. It’s dark black-red in color, and the scents may remind you of forest resins and oily Mediterranean scrub leaves, with a quiet, beefy undertow of dense black fruits. As in Spain, the wine is vital and bright on the palate, and there are more of those resins and scrub plants lending a haunting, perfumed austerity to the bright fruits. Clearly a wonderful variety to use here for the warmer years to come.” (97 Pts)