Italy - Cagnulari Grape Variety

Bailliage of Italy
Sassari, November 24, 2024

A ruby gem indigenous to Sardinia
" Pairing perfectly with the most representative island products, Cagnulari can rightly be considered an ambassador wine "

Wine in Sardinia has a deep and ancient history. Vineyards today can be found throughout the island. Viticulture has always played an important role in the economy so much so that wine has become a symbol of culture and civilization.

Cagnulari, the subject of this article, is cultivated in the province of Sassari, in the north-western part of Sardinia. Its origins and history cannot readily be traced back due to very little information, sometimes shrouded in mystery.

Some sources credit Cagnulari as partially resembling the Bovale vine. This varietal, coming from Spain, would have arrived in Sardinia during the Aragonese domination of the island during the 1300s. Other opinion indicates a relationship with Monastrell or Mourvèdre, a black grape variety of Spanish origin but also widespread in France, of which it would represent a perfect replica. [Ed. Some also believe it to be a Sardinian version of Graciano.]

Concretely, there is no certain information or source, due to the fact that the vine almost never appears in the main ampelographic treatises at least until the last century, testifying to its rare and exclusive character. Accordingly, the Cagnulari vine is considered indigenous to Sardinia.

With an alcohol content that can vary depending on the type from 10.5° to 12.5° (with niche productions up to 14°-15°), it prefers calcareous-clayey, loose and sunny soils, where it is cultivated with the Sardinian sapling system (ie. low espaliers).

The wine produced has a bright and intense ruby red colour. It has strong and marked aromas of berries, with spicy notes and balsamic accents. Specifically, Cagnulari wines are distinguished by their fruity aromas (plum, red fruit), reaching great breadth in the case of aged wines, accompanied by herbaceous notes, sometimes of musk, floral and/or spicy in their youth with hints of black pepper. On the palate, a fantastic balance emerges that gives the right degree of freshness to make tasting it truly pleasant.

It is recommended to combine Cagnulari wines with cold cuts, platters with sausage, pork mustela (loin), ham, bacon, and especially with all wild boar cured meats. It’s excellent with carp and smoked eel.

Superior with courses with rich sauces such as those with wild boar, hare, lamb or stuffed pasta, but also with red meats and roasts, even rich in spices, without forgetting kid. I recommend it with all medium-aged cheeses, obviously favouring Sardinian Pecorino!

Pairing perfectly with the most representative island products, Cagnulari can rightly be considered an ambassador wine of Sardinia.

Giampaolo Cadeddu
Vice-Conseiller Gastronomique
Bailliage of Nord Sardegna

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