The Wine: 2015 Urùlu, Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C.
- Clear appearance with medium intensity in the glass, a beautiful garnet color
- Clean nose with medium intensity
- Aromas of raspberry, macchia (wild scrub and dried herbs), all sorts of juicy, dark red fruits, sweet spices, plum, and tobacco
- Medium bodied on the palate with medium acidity that’s keeping the wine very fresh
- Medium level tannins, soft and rounded
- Very well integrated and in balance
- Flavors match the aromas with notes of plum, juicy, dark red fruits, and tobacco from oak aging
- Officially obsessed with this Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. wine, easily my favorite bottle of Cannonau I’ve ever tasted
- If you want to understand what Cannonau is all about, Urùlu is the ideal place to start
The Winery: Cantine di Orgosolo
Cantine di Orgosolo was founded in 2006 by a group of 17 local growers. Cantine di Orgosolo is a cantina sociale, or a cooperative, in which each grower contributes fruit from their vineyards to produce wine under a single winery or brand name. Cantine sociale are popular in regions inhabited by numerous small growers and there are quite a few sprinkled throughout the various regions of Sardinia. On average in Orgosolo, each grower only farms about 1 hectare of vineyards. So you can imagine the amount of care and attention that goes into cultivating these grapes. In total, the winery works with fruit from around 17 hectares of vineyards.
Cantine di Orgoslo began with each grower contributing the best selection of Cannonau from their vineyards with the intention of creating the ultimate Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. wine. I have to say, mission accomplished guys! This bottle was phenomenal.
First and foremost, the growers of this cantina sociale focus on preserving the oldest vineyards in Orgosolo, some of which are more than a century old. They also hold an emphasis on quality over quantity. One of the many regulations under the Cannonnau di Sardegna D.O.C. involves limiting vineyard yields to 110 quintali per hectare. For us Americans, that’s roughly 11 tons per 2.5 acres. Cantine di Orgosolo takes the quality control even further by limiting yields to 40-50 quintali per hectare, or 4-5 tons per 2.5 acres. Lower yields translate to higher quality fruit, as the vines’ energy and nutrients from the soil are dispersed amongst fewer clusters. This quality definitely carries over to the wine in the bottle.
Additionally, Cantine di Orgosolo implements non-interventionist winemaking practices, such as fermenting on native yeasts and limiting added sulfites. Many of the growers’ vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic, too.
The Region: Orgosolo
Orgosolo is a village in the sub-region of Barbagia located in the Province of Nuoro in central Sardegna. The center of this gorgeous Mediterranean island is where the majority of Sardinian Cannonau is grown. In fact, Cannonau is one of the most planted, if not the most planted, variety in Sardinia accounting for around 30% of all vineyard plantings. To the east, Orogoslo is protected by the mountains of the Supremonte plateau, also home to the largest holm-oak forest in Europe. The Supremonte consists of dolomitic limestone and is a wild, harsh landscape home to unique flora and fauna. Orgosolo is also protected by Mount Ortobene to the north.The Sorasi hills and the Locoe Valley are to the south of Orgosolo.
The various vineyards of Cantine di Orgosolo mostly consist of granite soils and sit between 300-700m above sea level. All are within a territory recognized as a classic production zone for Cannonau. The older vineyards are traditionally bush trained, while the relatively newer vineyards use the Guyot and the spurred cordon systems. The vineyards lie on rolling hills with shallow soils and good ventilation, which helps reduce the need for pesticide treatments. The climatic and geographic conditions of Orgosolo, combined with traditional vineyard management techniques make sustainable farming easily achievable.
Besides producing expressive Cannonau, Orgosolo is also known for silk production. Cantine di Orgosolo gives a nod to this cultural tradition by including silk thread ties on their labels. Actually, I am in love with this wine bottle label that unties and folds out to reveal a storied history of the region. Silk in Orgosolo was primarily produced for the elegant headdresses of the traditional female costumes of the region known as “Su Lionzu.” Today, there is only one artisan, Maria Corda, left who performs the whole production process, from breeding silk worms to weaving and dying the silk with saffron to complete the headdress. I just read that her workshop is open for tourist visits, so that is definitely something I want to check out for myself!
Pairing Suggestions For the 2015 Ursùlu Cannonau di Sardegna
- Homemade ricotta and fresh herb ravioli with sugo (tomato sauce)
- Melanzane alle sassarese (eggplant halved, scored, drenched in olive oil, sprinkled with fresh garlic and parsley, then grilled until caramelized…SO GOOD)
- Smoked or grilled pancetta
- Grilled steaks marinated with olive oil, parsley, and fresh garlic
- Cheese from sheep’s milk, or other pungent cheeses
- Cous cous with braised lamb shanks