Cannonau, Italian Grape Name Pronunciation Project (with Alessandro Dettori)

Lately, there has been a lot of positive response to the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project. Nothing could make me more happy: I created the project to encourage people to speak Italian grapes. After all, one of the things that fascinates us about Italian wines is the ampelonyms and the stories behind them (or in many cases, the lack of information about their etymons). This week’s installment comes via David Weitzenhoffer, who runs a great little importing operation out of New York, Acid Inc. Although at Sotto, we buy Alessandro Dettori’s wines through his Southern Californian importer, we do carry a handful of David’s wines at the restaurant (Scala Cirò and Schola Sarmenti Negroamaro) and I love what he’s doing with his portfolio.

Dettori? The wines that Alessandro produces on his family’s estate in Sardinia are among my favorite wines of all time. We sell them at Sotto, Tracie P and I collect them (they’re not out of reach for middle-class collectors like us), and they changed my life — there’s no other way to say it — when I first tasted and began following the wines back in 2005 in New York.

I met Alessandro — an electric character, for his personality and the crowds that gather around him at the fair — for the first time this year at Vinitaly. I’ve included here a clip in which he explains the etymology of Cannonau.

Great stuff… thanks to David and Alessandro for taking the time for this and sharing this wonderful ampelonym with us. And thank you, if you’re reading this, for speaking Italian grapes!

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