An ancient and noble species, found in Sardinia since the times of the Phoenicians, who introduced it along the Oristano coast, the Sinis peninsula and the ancient staging port of Tharros. Cultivation has always been exclusively limited to the Province of Oristano, where it is chiefly grown using the alberello latino method. It flourishes in the low terrain of the Tirso and Rio Mannu flood-lands. The name of the vine, held to have been conferred by the Romans, derives from vernacula, which means a grape of the zone. This would explain the presence of the Vernacce species in other wine-producing zones of Italy, although they have nothing in common with Sardinian Vernaccia. This superb wine, the pride of Sardinian oenology, owes its unique characteristics to an oxidative maturation, of at least 3-4 years in barrels which are not completely filled. The presence of oxygen encourages the rise of yeast to the top of the must, forming characteristic flor film, which contributes to the special aroma, known in the ancient vernacular as Murrai. This particular refinement happens even today in the traditional wineries (cantine di Oristano) made of straw and mud with a typical terracotta roof. As long ago as the 19th century, Cettolini wrote of Vernaccia, “… It must be judged by the senses… its aroma is worthy; the delicacy of its completeness conquers us- that curious taste of bitter fruit, so gracious, so seductive, of which we never tire. Instead, we submit”.
This poetic description is well-suited to Vernaccia, a dry wine with a unique personality revealed to us through all its sensory expressions, including the warm amber shades of its colour, its complex, ethereal taste sensations of Madera, dried fruit, almond flowers and bitter honey which linger on the palate with extraordinary tenacity. Apart from DOC Vernaccia di Oristano, the first Denomination recognised in Sardinia in 1971, a young white wine known commercially as IGT Valle del Tirso is produced.
VERNACCIA DI ORISTANO DOC
Vine Vernaccia 100%
Zone of cultivation The Municipalities of the Lower Tirso subregion
Grape yield Max. 80 quintals/hectare
Wine yield Max. 65%
Alcohol Min. 15.0°
Typology, alcohol content Superior min. 15.5°, Dry fortified wine min. 18.0°, Sweet fortified wine min. 16.5°
Ageing Min. 2 years in barrels, min. 3 years for Superior typology