Monica is a grape variety found exclusively on the island of Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy. Despite its relatively unknown status, it is one of the island's most common varieties, and makes simple wines designed for everyday drinking. Monica wines tend to be medium-bodied with gentle tannins and flavors of red berries and herbs, often with an earthy overtone.
The variety is thought to have been brought to the island by Spanish conquistadores around the same time as Grenache (known in Sardinia as Cannonau). However, there is no concrete evidence to support this, as Monica is not linked to any famous Spanish grape varieties. In fact, many researchers think that the name Monica is used indiscriminately for any number of unrelated grape varieties grown in Sardinia's vineyards.
Low levels of acidity and high levels of productivity have marked out Monica as a table wine grape. The vine is beloved of producers as it is easy to harvest and gives consistent, abundant results, but caution is needed in the vineyard as Monica can become overripe, resulting in wines with excessive alcohol levels.
Monica's main showcase is in the Monica di Sardegna DOC, where wines can be still or semi-sparkling (or frizzante). Here, they may be accompanied by other red varieties, although Monica must compose at least 85 percent of the blend. The variety is also used in the more location-specific Monica di Cagliari wines, which are produced in dry and sweet fortified styles.
Unfortunately, both of these DOCs allow for very high yields, and producers making simple table wines have no incentive to experiment with lower yields. However, this is changing and early trials are showing promising results.
Synonyms include: Monaca, Mora, Monique, Morillo, Nectarea, Pascali, Pensale Nero.
Food matches for Monica include:
Spit-roasted suckling pig
Meatballs in tomato sauce
Chili con carne
Sourced from www.winesearcher.com
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