To make natural wine is not a trend for Alessandro Dettori, but rather the soul of his family’s work since 1860. Alessandro was just a boy of 12 when he began to work with his grandfather. In Romangia, the region of northern Sardegna that includes Sorso and Sennori, the vineyards have been so prized from ancient times that they were consistently protected from destruction during various conflicts, including by Napoleon. The terrain is more rugged in the North; it is a form of meditation for Alessandro to observe the hawks that wheel above his mountain walks. Sheep and wild boar are part of the area’s biodiversity, and the vineyard rows are home to aromatic herbs and indigenous berries that attract pollinators. Dettori has 26 hectares under vine, many of them more than 100 years old. With alluvial limestone and gravel so similar to that of the Southern Rhone, the soil in Romangia is often compared to that of Chateau Rayas.
This brings us to the usual questions: is cannonau grenache? Yes and no. Historical mentions of cannonau predate all records of France’s grenache. French grenache was certainly eventually brought in, and did very well, thanks to the soil, which was clearly ideal. There were certainly crossings and clonal variation over time, but Dettori’s vines, over 100 years old, represent the original, ancient cannonau. The ancient clone is distinguished by particular flavors and aromas of herbs and cola. In terms of the preservation of indigenous grapes, Alessandro is equally devoted to Vermentino. Alessandro, with his quiet, professorial mien, can talk about Vermentino for hours, and he sits on the Vermentino tasting board. He shares his love of history with his wife, who works at an Etruscan museum. Not looking to impress anyone, Alessandro is a family man who simply carries the torch of Dettori’s history. His Demeter-certified wines are unfiltered and unfined, and Alessandro gives much support to all the small producers who seek to make quality wine on this singular island.