For this week’s rare variety, I have another delicious Sardinian white wine to share with you following last week’s feature on Nuragus. After tasting Nuragus and Granazza, I am convinced that Vermentino should not be the only claim to white wine fame in Sardinia.
If you ever find yourself in Sardinia, you might also see this wine labeled as Granatza – the Sardo spelling of the name with the t pronounced before the z. Granazza is diffused throughout the island of Sardinia, however it is unexplainably unknown, both to us foreigners and even to many Sardinians.
Here in Sardinia, many of the family vineyards that have been passed on from generation to generation are planted in a sort of indiscriminate way. One vineyard might be home to five or more different varieties. A bit of Cannonau here, some Vermentino there, maybe throw in a handful of Bovale vines and another white variety for good measure. In this way many vineyards have become home to Granazza.
However, since the variety is so unknown most people often mistake Granazza for Vernaccia di Oristano, another white Sardinian variety that is more widely recognized. Though the two have nothing genetically in common. Furthermore, in vineyards like these where there is not a lot of Granazza planted, the variety might get blended in with another white or even red wine from the same vineyard. Perhaps contributing to the relative anonymity of the variety.
While Granazza is grown throughout Sardinia, Barbagia is one region on the island with a higher concentration of this unique variety. In fact, the village of Mamoiada in Barbagia is where I first discovered Granazza at Giuseppe Sedilesu. This family owned winery, first founded by Giuseppe Sedilesu and his wife Grazia, is now managed by their children and grandchildren. Giuseppe Sedilesu produces truly incredible Cannonau and is also one of two producers that I know of who produces a single-varietal Granazza, which I’ll get to later. The other producer is a grandson of Giuseppe Sedilesu, Simone Sedilesu, at his very own Cantina VikeVike.
Granazza in the Vineyard
Considering Granazza is grown throughout Sardinia, you might venture to guess this variety is rather adaptable to various soils and climates. The lifecycle of Granazza begins with bud break typically occurring in the final days of March or the first week of April. Flowering occurs around the third week of May. Things start to get exciting with veraison happening in the first or second week of August. Depending on the growing season, Granazza tends to be medium to late ripening with harvest occurring in the last week of October.
Granazza in the Glass
Granazza is typically a pale yellow with pale yellow reflections and a light to medium intensity in the glass. Aromatics tend to include medium pronounced floral notes like acacia flower, medium pronounced citrus notes (lemon, orange, orange peel, mandarin peel), and notes of exotic fruits. This variety can also exude stone fruit aromas, such as peach, plum, and apricot, along with notes of almond or walnut. The aromas tend to carry through to flavors on the palate. Granazza produces a light to medium bodied wine with medium acidity, good structure, and a medium persistence.
This distinctive wine is a double whammy of uniqueness. Not only made from the rare variety Granazza, but also produced sulle bucce, or on the skins. Yes, wine lovers. This is an orange wine!
- 100% Granazza
- Medium intensity in the glass with a gorgeous amber color and amber reflections
- The color clearly indicates that this is an orange wine
- Medium pronounced aromas of apricot, mandarin orange peel, honeysuckle, and walnut
- Medium bodied with a bit of weight on the palate from the skin contact and higher alcohol content (14.5%)
- Aromas carry through on the palate
- The wine has just a hint of sweetness, which I’m guessing is to balance out the high alcohol content
- Beautifully delicate tannins from the skin contact
- Balanced acidity and a focused, persistent finish
A second wine made with 100% Granazza produced by Giuseppe Sedilesu. Another lovely expression of the variety, though I prefer the added complexity and structure from the skin contact on Granazza Sulle Bucce
Ideal pairings for Granazza include risotto alla Milanese or saffron risotto, aged cheeses, cassoulet, steamed fish with a ginger scallion sauce, crab and parmesan stuffed mushrooms, or crab cakes served with garlic aioli.
Akinas, Uve di Sardegna, Poliedro, 2017, Ilissio Edizioni, Nuoro