Nasco: Another Ancient Grape
Those of you that follow me on Twitter have probably noticed that I recently drank an excellent wine produced from the rather unknown, ancient Nasco grape. Today I want to share with you my tasting notes about the 2004 Meloni Vini Nasco di Cagliari. It was one of the most unusual wines that I have drank so far. But because Nasco is, unlike Sangiovese and Primitivo, not that well-known, I will give you some background about Nasco first.
Nasco is a white, autochthonous grape from the Mediterranean island Sardinia. This ancient grape track its origins back to the early 13th century but over the centuries the grape got “lost” and was rediscovered by local farmers a few decades ago. It is primarily grown outside of Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia. It is estimated, that only around 40 hectares (100 acres) of Nasco exist. The grape is mostly used to produce Nasco di Cagliari DOC, which exists in three styles: secco (dry), dolce (sweet) and liquoroso (fortified wine). Nasco di Caglieri received DOC status in 1972. One of the DOC requirements is, that the wine has to be produced with at least 95% Nasco grapes. But because Nasco is not an easy grape, many wineries that focus on quantity blend Nasco with other local grapes like Vermentino. These wines do, however, not classify as Nasco di Cagliari and are therefore labeled IGT. Argiolas is famous for producing a blend of Nasco and Vermentino. Back in 1972, there was a debate to make the wine 100% Nasco but because of Sardinia’s wild nature, there rarely exist wines which are are produced just from one grape. Over many years, the grapes naturally cross with each other. A vineyard focused on Cannonau for example might also have 3%-5% of Barbera and Bovale grapes. The same applies to most Nasco vineyards.
During its height in the 19th century, the grape was considered one of Sardinia’s most important grapes and at the 1873 World Exhibition of Wine in Vienna, Nasco received special praises. The grape’s unusual name derives from the Latin word muscus, used to describe the smell of moschus (musk deer).
Tasting notes 2004 Meloni Vini – Nasco di Cagliari – Nasco di Cagliari DOC
The 2004 Meloni Vini Nasco di Cagliari is produced with more than 95% organic Nasco grapes. B In the glass, the wine had an amber-golden-yellow color. The bouquet was composed of eucalyptus, an intense aroma of fresh-cut wood and hints of citrus fruits. 14.5% was the label listed ABV. In the mouth, Meloni Vini’s Nasco di Cagliari was smooth and sweet. There was a notable acidity. The wine had a most unusual bitter touch, which I have not found in many other sweet wines. Very well-structured wine but also complicated. The finish was medium-long.
The wine was a great experience but I believe that lots of people could dislike the wine because of its bitter touch. But if you like wine as much as I do then you should put a Nasco wine on your to-drink list. A 0.5 liters bottle of 2004 Meloni Vini Nasco di Cagliari retails in Munich for 18.90€. According to Meloni Vini’s site, 2004 is still the current vintage of the wine. I had the feeling that the wine was at its peak and will not get any better with aditional aging. The Nasco di Cagliari is part of the wineries Donna Jolanda line. A line dedicated to sweet wines.
The wine is better for meditation than it is with desserts. It could also work as an aperitif. Best served refrigerated.
Have you tried Nasco di Cagliari before? What was your most unusual wine? Let me know in the comment section below!
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- 2009 Meloni Vini – Le Sabbie Rosso – Cannonau di Sardegna DOC