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Yet another in a long list of verbose and confusing wine names. In this case, the red wine is another offering from one of Sardinia's largest winemakers, based in Alghero. Cannonau (which must make up at least 90% of this DOC wine) is a red grape grown over much of the island, and is closely related to Grenache (also called Garnacha in Spain, thought to be the origin of this type). The "Riserva" in this case does have a defined meaning, indicating at least three years of aging in oak barrels before bottling. However, the cork in the bottle I purchased (for about $11) indicates that the wine was bottled in July 2000, scarcely two years from harvest. It is possible that my sources are out of date, and that the rules for oaking now mandate only two years (as has become the case for Chianti Classicos).

With all that said, this still failed to be a good wine.

I was attracted to the variety because I'd thought it would be a full bodied, tannic wine, but I was disappointed. The color was good, reminiscent of a Rhone wine or perhaps a US Merlot, but the aroma was off--lots of oak to smell, but little else. This aromatic impression carried over to the wine's taste: the fruit flavors were marginal at best, being rudely stepped over by a woodiness that was unpleasant. And despite the long period in oak, the wine failed to acquire any real tannic structure. Perhaps it is time for Sella and Mosca to invest in some new barrels that have more to offer.

In general impression, though, I was surprised how much it seemed a cross between an Apulian wine (such as a Salice Salentino) and a Rhone wine (which tend to make great use of Grenache, at least in the southern Rhone valley) from Southern France. Too bad it wasn't as good as wines from either area.

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