He’d always made wine. He’d always worked the land. But the idea of producing a label that could express his territory and move out of the confines of his small town in the hinterland of Sardinia only came to him in the early years of 2000. Here are the notes from a vertical tasting of all the years so far produced of Barrosu Riserva. It took place on January 18, 2017, at the Mostòwine bar on Viale Pinturicchio in Rome. The tasting ended with a sampling of Modestu’15, a Montisci white. It is a dry Moscato with fascinating notes of citron and dried fruit, fresh and mentholated on the palate, with a pleasantly savory finish. It proves that Giovanni’s able hand is not only revealed in Cannonau.
This Riserva has the noble goal of expressing the entire soul of the Mamoiada terroir. Structure is evident, and with it, a small sugar residue that is apparent in some early vintages. Vinification is simple and essential: a few days of maceration, then aging in 1,000-liter casks. Over the years, maceration increased to 30 days and the sweet residue disappeared, leaving room for fruitiness along with balsamic, fresh acidity, ideal for reds that never dip below 16 degrees of alcohol. Among the earliest years, the 2005 and the 2007 are surprising thanks to their vertical development and capacity to express perfect integrity years after their vintage. The real shift, above all in terms of production constancy, with bottles that consistently gain more in finesse and elegance, occurred around 2010. The last four vintage years, although some weather differences were evident, as they should be in great, authentic, artisanal wines, produced wonderfully balanced and harmonious bottles, wines full of character that mirror their territory. Mamoiada is a small vineyard, 85 years old, less than a hectare of alberello-planted vines 650 meters above sea level. But above all, these bottles demonstrate that they know how to age very well. With the years they reveal how time enriches them and showcases vineyard, weather conditions and the human hand informed by decades of history.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva Franzisca 2014
A hot vintage year, but not humid, which guaranteed an excellent harvest. Intense ruby red color with clean, intense aromas of cherry and strawberry, then slight sensations of roses, spices, plums and blueberries. The palate is supple, fresh. Tannin is mature and noticeable on the finish, followed by a pleasing savory tone. Great. 92
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva Franzisca 2013
Good vintage year, balanced and not too hot. Classic ruby color. Nose displaying notes of alcohol-preserved cherries, berry jam and sweet spices. Little by little, sensations of blood and iron emerge. The palate is mentholated, spicy and long, with tannins that are emphatic, though sweet and ripe. Deep, savory finish. Sincere. 91.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva Franzisca 2012
A less balanced vintage year, with summer intervals of heat and rain. Ruby color shows first garnet shading. The nose is austere and dark, with notes of spices and chocolate, some tones of cherry and plum. The palate is slightly contracted by rough tannin that diminishes drinkability a bit. But there's no shortage of fresh sensations and the savory finish nevertheless emerges. Grumpy. 86
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva Franzisca 2011
Not an exemplary year. Hot, not humid, but with intensely variable intervals. Garnet-red color with ruby highlights. At first, a slight volatile tone that disappears, leaving space for notes of strawberry, plum, forest floor, resin and Mediterranean brush. The palate is compact and integral, with soft, velvety tannin. Acidity is in each mouthful, and the finish is very fresh and mentholated. Powerful. 93.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva Franzisca 2010
Wine is also fascinating when some bottles are less fortunate. That's the case with our tasting of the 2010 Riserva. The bottles tested don't offer what they should. Unlucky. NV.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2009
Very hot, muggy vintage year. Evident garnet color. At first, a sensation of alcohol that disappears immediately, leaving room for ripe fruit, spices and chocolate, along with notes of licorice and resin. Mouth-filling, but still light-hearted and easy to drink. The finish is creamy and intense. Generous. 88
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2008
A year of seesaw weather, marked by rain and muggy heat. The nose is very open, already displaying tertiary notes, slightly evolved. Evident notes of forest floor precede sensations of alcohol-preserved cherries, plum jam and roasted coffee. The palate opens with slight sweetness balanced by acidity, closes with a savory tone on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little contracted deep down by slightly rough tannin. Honest. 85
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2007
Cool and very balanced vintage year. Garnet red color with ruby-red highlights. Wonderful nose right from the start, with notes of black pepper, Mediterranean brush, berries and cherries, but also resinous and mentholated sensations. The palate is compact, integral, and has silky tannins that underlie a mouthful refreshed by acidity and deepened by a savory, flavorful finish. Agile, elegant, fine, even while showing its grand structure. Incredible. 94
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2006
An imperfect year, with very uncertain weather. Intense garnet-red color. Immediate notes of chocolate, coffee and alcohol-preserved cherries on the nose. Then a touch of vanilla and spicy Alchermes liqueur emerges. The palate is lightly contracted by tannin, but fresh and savory on the finish. Imprecise. 87.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2005
Hot but balanced vintage year. Garnet-red color. The nose is mentholated, with notes of anise and dark citrus fruit. Gradually aromas of red fruit emerge that remind us of the wine's youth. The palate is slim, agile, whole, with notes of underbrush and forest floor that come out on the finish. A good, long, fresh mouthful with vibrant acidity. Soft, mature tannin. Vibrant. 90.
Cannonau di Sardegna Barrosu Riserva 2004
Garnet color with light orange highlights. The nose is a bit imprecise, showing a pinch of healthy age-related evolution. This was the first year produced, but the aromas of strawberry, licorice and roasted coffee are still notable. The palate is wide, with a pinch of sweetness. Tannin slightly contracts the mouthfeel. Mature. 84.
Giovanni Montisci | Mamoiada (NU) | via Asiago | tel. + 39 328 019 3273 | www.facebook.com/Cantina-Giovanni-Montisci-451064508382317/
by Giuseppe Carrus
photography by Alessandro Pintus