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93-Point, Sub-$15 Top Flight Italian Red of Unbelievable Poise and Refinement - 01/09/2018 - Italy

While the Grenache grape may be most closely associated with the Southern Rhone, this 93 point, sub-$15 rendition from Sardinia more than holds its own against the best from this fabled region. With such strong critical reviews (especially given its bargain price), we knew we had to give it a try and we are so pleased that we did. This is what Grenache is all about. With an enticing combination of fresh fruit and exotic spice, it has the kind of lively personality and depth of character that keeps you coming back to the glass. Dynamism isn’t a quality one normally thinks of when it comes to sub-$20 reds, but that is precisely what you get here. This 2016 pirouettes from one flavor to the next and all on a smooth and seductive palate. Give it time to open up and you’ll be rewarded with additional tones wild herbs, white pepper, freshly cut flowers, and more. It hard to believe such a litany tones and textures can be found for only $14.99. Long time fans of Italy’s regional wines are sure to be delighted and for those just dipping their toe outside of Tuscany and Piedmont, you won’t find a better or more affordable introduction. If you are looking for a red to purchase by the case, the "I Fiori" warrants serious consideration.

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2016 Pala "I Fiori" Cannonau di Sardegna ($14.99)

93 points James Suckling: "A fresh Cannonau with hibiscus, red cherries, spicy cranberries, lemons and orange rind. Medium to full body, crunchy red fruit, tangy acidity and a spicy finish. So beautiful and refined. Amazing value!" (10/2017)

Wine Spectator: "A medium-bodied red, with light tannins and a spicy thread winding through the crushed raspberry, citrus and herb notes. Fresh. Drink now through 2019. (AN, Web Only-2017)"

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 04, 2018

This is warm, sweet and fresh with a middle of juicy berries and aromas of ripe plums and ash. Here is a delightful super drinkable bottle to go with any kind of food and that is priced to purchase by the case.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 03, 2018

My only other experience with Cannonau is the brilliant offering from Sella e Mosca (both the 2011 and 2013). So I was a bit skeptical about such an affordable, young version. But wow, what a great wine! It has fresh fruit flavors of plum, blueberries, brambly fruits and herbs, with a touch of baked pastry notes. Theres great tannins, and surprisingly great acidity for a warm weather Grenache! This is going to age well for 5 to 10 years, easy!

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

Aromatics of purple and red plums jump from the glass as you raise it to your nose. It is fresh with lively acidity, integrated structure and lots of sweet fruits- plums, raspberries and red cherries. The use of cement and stainless steel keeps the wine's integrity and character- soft spice and a savory earth component that adds to the freshness of ripe fruit throughout.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

Cannonau is one of the main red grapes of Sardinia and this is 100%. (Aka Garnacha, Grenache ) This shows, middle eastern spiciness of sandalwood, cedar and plums, with bold, dramatic fruit character alternating with bursts of brilliant spice and pepper. A great cocktail wine on a cold winters night.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

This is classic Cannonau. Unmistakeable from the first sniff, bold dark cherry and red fruit backed by a distinctive savory herbal note. It is medium bodied but rich and mouth-filling, with lots of juicy dark fruits, dusty myrtle herbal notes and a modest amount of tannin and acid to pull it all together. This is every night Italian wines with no edges nor extreme earthiness, yet unmistakably Italian. Think red sauce, red meat, hard cheese and good company.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

Wow! This is a sexy beast of a wine. Lots of wild berry fruit, seductive aromas and silky tannins make this an irresistible offering. I had to do a double-take when I saw the price, I easily expected this to be in the mid-to-high 20s but was pleasantly surprised to see it at the jaw-dropping price of only $14.99. A flat-out delicious offering for under $15 this is a wine to buy b y the case.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

Cannonau is the Grenache of Sardinia, so if you're a fan of Cote du Rhone style French wines and food-friendly bistro fare, this is the Italian version. Plush on the palate and loaded with flavors of fresh berries, herbs, and exotic spices, the 2016 Pala is the perfect wine to get you out of your Dolcetto/Barbera rut. I'm generally on the hunt for lower tannin levels in my Italian red wine because I eat a lot of pasta and vegetarian dishes, so Chianti, Brunello, and Barolo are too heavy and overpowering without the meat. The Pala did just the trick over the holidays, offering up classic Italian flavor with an elegant and easily approachable profile.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

The nose is pure, focused plumy fruit, fresh but you can smell the intensity and focus. On the palate this wine isnt ponderous it has great acidity to focus the richness of the body lifting those flavors and creating a vibrant and dynamic palate feel. The flavors are dense, powerful spiced plum with a great palate presence giving you the sensation of weight and power yet the wine is very drinkable and supremely well balanced. This is Grenache from Sardinia, it is called Cannonau there, and the Pala winery produces the Fiori or flower label as there ready to drink wines. Fermented in stainless steel then aged in stainless or cement tanks until released I find best when opened an hour ahead of time. Id pair this with lasagna or grilled sausages, something a bit more rustic and filling for colder winter nights.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 26, 2017

Cannonau has gained attention of late due to its cultivation within one of the noted "blue zones" that dot the globe. People who inhabit these places are said to live the longest, healthiest lives and the Cannonau wines of Sardegna are included due to their polyphenolic content. Aside from the said health benefits, Cannonaus like this one are tasty, versatile red wines that our customers love. Pala's is bright and lively with scents of fresh raspberry, prickly pear, white pepper, and a pleasant touch of wild herbs. It's medium-bodied in texture and fills out with a bit of aeration. This is a great everyday red that will pair with a wide variety of mild and spicier foods. A wonderful island red.