Vines and Grapes

Our quest to find Sardinian wine gems.

Bovale Grande

This red grape variety, introduced by the Spaniards, is also named Bovale Grosso di Spagna. It is different from Bovale Piccolo, which in Sardinian is called Bauleddu. Bovale Grande is mainly present in the Terralba region, which has 27 hectares of vineyards, where it is cultivated in sandy soils and on ungrafted vines…


This semi-aromatic white grape was introduced in Sardinia 150 years ago from the Iberian Peninsula via Corsica. In Sardinian, it is called “Axina de mesa” or “Axina bionda”. The production of Vermentino has steadily increased since the 1960s, especially in Gallura (thanks to the DOCG appellation), becoming the most important Sardinian white grape variety…


This is the most common red grape variety in Sardinia. Due to its flexibility, it can be a difficult variety. In fertile soils, it is a major producer so, to produce quality wine, it needs poor soils (ideally granitic and stony). As it produces a large amount of sugar and very little extract, it needs to be controlled well in the vineyard and in the winery. It is almost always blended with other grape varieties to define and improve its complexity and style.


This is one of the oldest Sardinian white grape varieties and it has been quoted since 1700 as “Muscadeddu de Nuragus”, also called (in Sardinian) “Axina de margiani”, “Axina de popurus” and “Abbondosa”. It is widely cultivated in the whole island but especially in Cagliari province. Nuragus is a vigorous variety, very resistant to diseases, with abundant and constant production. Harvesting in October can give a wine with a high content of polyphenols. Lots of care and attention are needed to obtain a great wine from this variety.


This red grape variety has been cultivated in Sardinia for many centuries. It is also cultivated in France (Carignan) and in Spain (Carinena). Its origin is unknown. It is mainly cultivated in the Sulcis region, south-west of Sardinia, where the hot climate provides an ideal terroir for this variety…


Semidano is a white grape variety that has been cultivated in Sardinia since the 1700s, especially in the Sassari and Cagliari regions, where it was always blended with Malvasia. In Sardinian, it is called “Migiu” or “Mizu”. At the moment, its cultivation is quite limited with a total area of 40 hectares between the Nuoro and Oristano regions. A special mention goes to the Cantina di Mogoro in the Oristano province, which has believed in this grape variety and has developed various Semidano styles, including sparkling and dessert wines. At the moment, the Mogoro subregion, thanks to the work of this winery, has been granted the “Classica” denomination.

Muristellu/Bovale Sardo

This is a red grape variety also known in Sardinian by various names: Muristeddu, Muristellu, Bovaleddu, Cardinissa, Carinisca, Barbera Sarda and Cagnulari. It is a very generous variety and its wines have good acidity with a good concentration of sugar and colour. It is produced in the whole island, especially in the Mandrolisai region, where it is a fundamental component of the Mandrolisai DOC blend.


According to a recent archaeological discovery, this white grape variety has been cultivated in the Sinis region (Oristano) for 3000 years. It is a symbol of the history and the culture of Oristano (Vernaccia is traditionally drunk during the Sartiglia).
During the 1970s, there were 1500 hectares of Vernaccia, at the moment there are 400 hectares. Vernaccia di Oristano has a peculiar aging technique thanks to the “flor”…


The origin of this variety is unknown, but it probably comes from Spain or France. In Italian, it is also called Bastardo Nero. In Sardinian, it has various names: Caldareddu, Cagliunari and Cagnonale. This red grape variety is very difficult to cultivate due to its tight cluster and weak peel. Especially in rainy vintages, it is quite susceptible to the fungus Botrytis, which is why the total area given over to Cagnulari is only 280 hectares. …


Monica is one of the most common grape varieties in Sardinia. Its origin is still unknown. Some think it is an indigenous variety, others believe it comes from Spain. It is mainly cultivated in the Campidano region but also in Sarcidano, Barbagia, Mandrolisai and Sulcis, where it is quite often trained as a bush vine and ungrafted…


This is a red grape variety used as a table grape but also to produce wine. It is always cultivated together with other varieties, in the Sassari region with Cagnulari and in south Sardinia with Barbera Sarda. At the moment there are 1200 hectares of Pascale in Sardinia. It’s a variety with low acidity and low sugar, and mainly used in blends.


Girò is a pink grape variety also called Girone and Zirone, it is probably a Spanish variety and it has a dual utilisation, as a table grape and to produce wine. It was very popular during the 1960s and the 1970s and it was used to produce sweet wines, consumed especially during celebrations. At the moment, there are only 100 hectares of Girò in Sardinia. The best use for this variety is to produce sweet and slightly oxidised wines or “passito” wines, which can have more structure.


This is a grape variety with both red and white grapes. It is originally from Greece and it is now cultivated across the whole Mediterranean region. In Sardinia, its best expressions are in Bosa, the Planargia region, the middle west coast of Sardinia and Cagliari province. When vinified in reduction from ripe grapes, it gives fresh and aromatic wines with an alcohol level not exceeding 14%. Riper grapes give more alcohol, up to 15–16%, and residual sugar around 5%. Overripe grapes give wines with an oxidative style thanks to the “flor” (like Vernaccia di Oristano).