The first question that everyone asks about Giuseppe Sedilesu’s extraordinary Mamuthone, the winery’s flagship wine, is what’s the meaning of the image on the label?
The image depicts a “Mamuthone,” hence the name of the wine: it’s a type of carnevale mask used exclusively in the township of Mamoiada, where the winery is located (Nuoro province, Sardinia).
No one knows the true origin of the Mamuthones but each year during carnevale (what we would call mardi gras here in the U.S.), the Mamuthones are led in a procession through the town by the Issohadores. You can see a Mamuthone (left) and a Issohadore in the image above.
The Mamuthones “capture” townspeople using their ropes. If you’re captured, goes the local legend, it will bring you good luck for the coming year.
It’s a fascinating ritual with mysterious origins. And it draws visitors each year to this ancient and picturesque town.
We tasted the 2011 Mamuthone recently (click here for the fact sheet; the winery has a great English-language site, btw).
It’s made from 100 percent bush-trained Cannonau. Bush training is not uncommon in Sardinia, where high winds make it an ideal training system. The basked to which the vine is trellised helps to protect the inner part of the plant from wind damage. It’s an ancient training system that’s still used on many islands in the Mediterranean (Santorini and Sicily, for example).
The wine was rich on the palate but it still retained a wonderful freshness that seemed to dance with the wine’s bold red fruit as it opened up in the glass.
Serve this extraordinary expression of Cannonau with meat sauces and grilled or roast lamb.