Vignerons, Artisans of Wine and the Land in Romangia
We are a family of sheepherders and farmers who have been making authentic, distinctive, terroir-expressive wine since the early 1900s. The wines were always sold in demijohns, until 1981, when Paolo began bottling a portion of the production.
Tenute Dettori is located in the extreme north-west corner of Sardinia, in the Romangia del Logudoro area, the “golden place” between Sassari and Castelsardo, where we are meticulous stewards of the “Badde Nigolosu” cru. This historic hinterland is the classic home of the Cannonau grape, where it flourishes on the high hillslopes that form a natural theatre facing the Gulf of Asinara at only 4 kilometres from the sea. Here, at Badde Nigolosu, Tenute Dettori cultivates solely ancient clones native to Sardinia, tending them in accord with the tenets of biodynamic agriculture. We utilise only concrete vats for natural fermentations, and for maturations as well, since we do not need oak barrels for softening tannins. Meticulous work in the vineyards means that the grapes arrive in the cellar already exhibiting all the qualities required for making a great wine.
The vines, trained to the low-bush alberello style, are the centrepiece of a pristine environment protected by 20 hectares of Mediterranean scrub woodland lying at 250-300 metres’ elevation, with the nearby sea effectively regulating weather conditions and the intense sunlight. Each individual vineyard (clos) yields a single wine (cru) that showcases its unique, unmatchable characteristics. They all immediately evoke the Romangia, historic terroir for Vermentino, Moscato di Sorso-Sennori, and Cannonau, whose ancient clone bears its own distinctive name, Retagliadu Nieddu.
In an era when the reigning belief that the traditional native grape varieties could not by themselves produce world-class wines, we were the only ones in Sardinia with faith in the power of terroir, believing in and relying exclusively on traditional grapes, making 100% varietal wines from individual crus, the first to believe in biodynamic viticulture and totally natural fermentation.
Right from the beginning, we deliberately avoided use of the DOC designation for Cannonau and Vermentino, because that concept was too far removed from our approach. We wanted to draw everyone’s attention to our terroir that grew the grape, not to the grape from which the wine was made. The grape is one of the many “cultivation components” of a terroir, but not the most important. By utilising the IGT designation, we knew that we could not include mention of the grape variety, and it was that hindrance that made us decide differently. Despite greater difficulties, we chose the ROMANGIA IGT denomination, but it was always challenging to get others to listen to us when we spoke of terroir rather than emphasise grape varieties.
Finally, although thirty years late, we are satisfied to see that Sardinia now talks of geographical denominations instead of varieties and that producers try to make monovarietal wines and list on the front label the vineyard that grows the grapes.
Over time, our work has become known and recognised through the distinctiveness of our wines and of their place of origin, but also through those who live at Badde Nigolosu, embodiments of experience, professionalism, and identity.
We have always worked in the service of our terroir, without compromise. But we have never been alone. Many wine lovers and professionals have trusted us. They tasted, selected, told and sold our wines. Over the years, Badde Nigolosu’s wines have met the most authoritative professionals in the world of wine. Without them today we would not be here yet.