Happening Now Tasting 27: Vini Contini Nieddera 2011, Valle del Tirso

Here we go! Today it is time for my second exploration of a hyper-autochthonous grape variety. Last time I presented Galliac’s rusty-raunchy delicacy Prunelart from Domaine Plageoles. This time I’d like to make a quick stroll to Sardinia’s Valle del Tirso to introduce you guys to the “little black one” or Nieddera. Nieddera, a varietal I haven’t heard about till recently, is almost exclusively cultivated in Province of Oristano on the sandy and slightly loamy banks of Sardinia’s longest river Tirso. Today Nieddera is cultivated on no more than approx. 110 ha. Its actual origin isn’t certain at all. Most ampelographic studies assume its origin in Phoenicia or Carthage. But enough of my profund history lesson! Today’s specimen from 2011 was produced by one of Sardinia’s larger producers Contini. Those "little black ones" were fully destemmed, fermented, pressed - obviously - and aged for appox. 12 months in barrique barrels. What do you say?! Let’s shut up and have a sip … hell I am excited!

3:15 pm (popped and poured)
Colour: pretty tinted, not black though (more like very dense purple), rather murky, overall fresh and vital hue; viscosity seems very fluid and playful
Nose: a bit lactic perhaps, mild cheese, smoke, assorted dark berries, leather, rather mute touch of oak, a trace of cinnamon and far more vital signs of garrigue’al herbs; so far not fat or hot at all
Taste: not too masculine body, rather lean, firm tannin structure, by far more crude and rustic as the nose tried to predict, there is plenty of suitable acid action going on in my mouth; aromas of assorted dark fresh berries, some mild liquorice, pure association of charcoal tablets and indefinable herbs; still a bit nervous … let’s see how this one will evolve

5:39 pm

So far no substantial shifts, but - a bit but - in the past 30 minutes there is a stronger character of iodide and iron detectable, this provides my hyper-auto' wine with more seriousness and firmness; my previous impression of firm tannins is easing a bit

2:02 pm (the day after)
Well, I guess a Champions League final evening might not be the best time to carry out such a challenging „Happenin Now Tasting“. Anyway, let's continue my real time „analysis“. Today, the Nieddera 2011 from Contini appears much creamier in a light-bodies style, the iodine character seems more tense and punchy, that goes for the smoky charcoal attributes as well, the acid seems to be a bit more erratic; anyway still interessting and a bit challenging stuff

6:09 pm (the day after, the day after)
Today the already mentioned character of mild liquorice, which isn't that mild anymore, is getting more and more dominant; the dark fruit flavours appear unwavering, which I really like; the acid seems to be a bit more harsh and disintegrated compared to yesterday; now a bit too tart and uptight, anyway still a rather pleasingly „crisp“ and lean „black“ wine with attitude – perhaps a smoky, herb-spicy and slightly raunchy one; yesterday overall a little bit more convincing
All in all a still decent **** and memorable, well… treat, yes treat is still the most adequate term, I guess! I was surprised by its lean, not at all to crude and mostly approachable - not just a food companion - structure as well as its cool fruitfulness. I haven't expected it like this. I guess am well satisfied.

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