The first week of 2021 is already behind us. Just as years before, people have made their New Year’s resolutions with the intention of changing themselves for the better. Whether these high-hoped commitments will last or not, only time can tell.
Along with their resolutions, many people partake in a, “dry January,” forgoing any alcohol for the entire month, following a presumably, “wet December.” After partying like the ‘80s Mötley Crüe throughout the holidays, the drastic decision is made that it’s all or nothing in the name of well-being. And although some people do have a problem with drinking, the Crüe included, moderate consumption of wine can have an abundance of health benefits, and no wine is healthier than Cannonau di Sardegna.
For those who have never heard of this somewhat difficult to pronounce varietal, Cannonau is the local name for a clone of Grenache from Sardegna, aka Sardinia, the island lying in the Mediterranean sea to the west of Italy, just below the French island of Corsica. The DOC of Cannonau di Sardegna covers the whole of the island, though most of production is on its eastern side. Here, the locals have one of the longest life expectancies in the world, which can be attributed to their Mediterranean diet, exercise, and consumption of the local wine, as Cannonau di Sardegna boasts two-three times the amount of flavonoids compared to other varietals.
So what are flavonoids, you ask? Well, flavonoids are the group of phenolic compounds including anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols. These are the compounds responsible for cleaning your arteries and reducing your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. In plants they contribute to the color, astringency, bitterness, and texture, and because red wines have been macerated with the skins, they naturally have more flavonoids compared to white wines.
But not only are these wines good for you, they are absolutely delicious. The 2019 Orgosa Cannonau di Sardegna comes from biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Locoe valley in central eastern Sardinia. The nose carries savory notes of cured meat, smoke, pink peppercorn, and Mediterranean herbs, along with tart red cherry and red currant aromas. Don’t let the medium minus garnet color fool you, as this wine is robust, with zesty acidity, and a hearty 15% abv. When paired with local Sardinian Braised Lamb with Fennel and Orange, gamey notes meet their match with the wine’s weight and intensity, and the Cannonau's herbaceous undertones meld seamlessly with the gentle anise of the roasted fennel and fresh citrus of finely grated orange zest to garnish - all in all, a perfect, harmonious, and flavonoid-packed Sardinian feast.
In short, wanting to start off the year in a healthy manner is commendable, but a glass or two of Cannonau could be one of the healthiest, most beneficial starts to a year that has already begun.... strangely, to put it mildly. And with all of the chaos so far, a glass of wine seems pretty damn necessary right about now, all health benefits aside. Cheers.