History and Origins of Cannonau
Cannonau grape most likely would have originated from the region of Aragon, which falls to the northern part of Spain.
From this, the grape derived its other name Tinto Aragonéswhich literally meant red of Aragon.
This grape, which is typically known as Grenache in France and Cannonau in Sardinia, is more popularly referred to by its former name.
Sardinia is the region where this grape might have originated from where it moved to the Mediterranean lands under the Aragon rule.
Grenache, under the Spanish synonym,Garnacha, was well established on both the sides of Pyrenees when Roussillon region was occupied by France.
From there, this vine made its journey through Languedoc & to the Rhone region, especially its southern part where it got well established till the start of the 19th century.
Despite its occurrence in the nearby regions of Navarra & Catalonia, this grape variety was not widely planted in Rioja till the 20th century.
Cannonau was the initial varieties to be introduced in the 18th century in Australia, only to later become one of the most widely planted and the most popular grape varieties of Australia.
However, this grape variety got surpassed by Shiraz in the middle 1960s. Cannonaugrapeswas typically used in Australia as one of the most blended grape varieties.
In the earlier part of the 19th century, the wine grape moved to California, where it became one of the most prized grapes, thanks to its ability to withstand high temperature, produce high yields and face the drought conditions.
The grape was broadly planted throughout San Joaquin Valley region where it became the main components when it came to blends for sweet, pale jug wines.
Characteristics of Cannonau
Cannonau grape, also known as Grenache, thanks to its French origin is one of the most internationally recognized grapes.
In France, Cannonauis most extensively planted in the southern Rhone Valley region and throughout Provence & Languedoc Roussillon.
It is mostly found alongside Mourvedre and Syrah in the Southern Rhone Blend. It is the main variety in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Cannonau berries typically have a thin skin and they show a tendency to ripen late in the season.
When it comes to the acid and the tannin levels, they vary, depending on the cropping levels & growing conditions, but they tend to move towards the medium to low end of the spectrum.
However, old Cannonau vines grown in stone or schist, producing wines such as Priorat or Chateauneuf-du-Pape, typically produce a profoundly concentrated wine, which is capable of ageing over several decades.
Vine and Viticulture of Cannonau grapes
Cannonau is a hardy and a vigorous grape vine having a strong wooden frame, and often seen growing as a free standing vine.
It offers great resistance to wind & drought, which makes it suitable for usage in arid dry climates of California and South Australia.
Since this wine is typically grown in hot climates, the alcohol levels of this grape can be very high, in some cases even surpassing the mark of 15 percent ABV.
Some winemakers from Australia use Cannonau as a base for fresh, fortified port wines along with using it for creating a GSM blend consisting of three most popular wines – Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre.
Characteristics of Cannonau Wines
Cannonau’s versatility provides several possibilities to the winemakers. Cannonau based rosé wine is one signature wine style of southern France.
This variety is more common in the wines of Cotes de Provence along with Mourvedre and Cinsaut. The finest example of this wine comes from the cities of Tavel and Lirac. When produced as a varietal wine, it typically gives out flavours of berries like raspberry, smoke etc.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂
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