My travels around Italy in search of indigenous grapes continues and once again, we are in Sardinia, a place I love. This week’s grape is called Nieddu Mannu Nero and it comes from around Caligari. A rare grape, it is one of about 150 minor varieties that grow in Sardinia and are being studied. It was first mentioned in 1780 and shares genetic traits with Bovale grapes and Nieddera.
It is made into a rosato or rosé wine traditionally with moderate alcohol when vinified alone or into a still red when blended with other local grapes. It is usually blended with Pascale di Cagliari, Monica and Bovale Sardo. I did find a producer who makes wines using a percentage of Nieddu Mannu, Contini.
They have about 80 hectares on the Sinis peninsula, the Tirso Valley and the slopes of Mount Arci. The vineyards have mild winters with very hot, windy summers because of the Mistral wind. The soil is composed of gravel and clay with silt and sand sediments.
The vineyards on the slope of the volcano, Mount Arci, have very distinctive volcanic soil known for it abundance of obsidian, a shiny volcanic glass. The erosion of obsidian produces a powder used to fertilize the grapes. Pietro Cella is both the agronomist and oenologist at the winery.