A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to taste some wines produced on the island of Sardinia, located to the west of mainland Italy, just north of the African country of Tunisia. Sardinia produces some fairly well known grapes (Vermentino, Gracianio), as well as a few that are lesser known (Monica, Nuragus). Monica is an ancient red grape that is grown in abundant quantities. Some believe this grape arrived in Sardinia during the Arogese era, somewhere between the 14th and 18th centuries, but this claim has not been substantiated. As a result of its vigor, Monica vines must be well maintained in order to produce higher quality wines. If yields are not limited, the resulting wines will lack depth. If a wine is labeled as Monica di Sardegna DOC, the wine must consist of a minimum of 85% Monica. It is used to produce dry still wines that are either varietal specific or added to blends, as well as sparkling wines in this appellation. There is also Monica di Cagliari DOC, where it is used in the production of dry, sweet, and fortified wines.
The bottle I wanted to tell you about is a 2020 Argiolas Perdera from Monica di Sardegna. This wine was a bright medium ruby color, just light enough I could see dark objects through it and while still lightly staining the legs as I swirled my glass. It had aromas of red fruits such as ripe cranberries, raspberries, red cherries and currants. I also detected notes of rose petals and anise. It was dry with a moderate amount of grip from the tannins and had great structure from the acidity. In addition to the red fruit, there was also a considerable amount of blue fruit, like blueberries and boysenberries, that appeared on the front of the palate which faded to give way to the red fruit on the prolonged finish. There was an obvious minerality that added an earthiness to the array of fruits it exhibited. All of the flavor components were still youthful, but could evolve into a more complex wine over time. This wine would pair wonderfully with cioppino or lasagna, with enough acid to balance tomato based entrees.