Nuragus is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown in Sardinia. It is the principle variety between the Denominazione di origine controllata wine Nuragus di Cagliari. The grape has a long history on the island with ampelographers believing that the variety was likely introduced to the area by the Phoenicians. While the grape is still widely planted in Sardinia its numbers began to dwindle in the late 20th century, falling by 50% during the 1980s alone to a total of 8,700 hectare (21,500 acres) in 1990. Today it is mostly found in the southern part of the island between Cagliari and Oristano on the hot Campidano plain.
Under Italian wine laws Nuragus grown in southern Sardinia are permitted to be labeled under the Nuragus di Cagliari DOC provided the grape makes up at least 85% of the blend with other local white grape varieties permitted to make up the remaining portion of the wine. The DOC has the highest permitted harvest yield or any Italian wine at a maximum of 20 tonnes/hectare. The finished wine must attain a minimum alcohol level of at least 10.5% and a semi-sparkling frizzante style is also allowed under the DOC.
According to wine expert Oz Clarke, Nuragus tends to make light-bodied neutral flavored wines. Joe Bastianich and David Lynch describe well made examples of Nuragus in favorable vintages as having aromas similar to Vermentino with almonds and sour apple flavor notes. The high potential acidity of the grape, even grown in the very warm Mediterranean climate of southern Sardinia allow the grapes to have notable acid notes that Bastianich and Lynch describe as reminiscent of Portugal's Vinho Verde and Spanish Albarino wines.
Over the years Nuragus has been known under a variety of synonyms including Abbondosa, Abboudossa, Abbsudosa, Abundans, Aksina de Marjian, Aksina de Popurus, Axina de Margiai, Axina de Popurus, Axina Scacciadeppidus, Bruscu biancu, Burdu, Garna Chchija, Garnaccia, Granazza, Lacconargiu, Malvasia di Luras, Meragus, Nugarus, Nuragus blanc de Sardaigne, Nuragus Moscadeddu, Nuragus Moscatello and Nuragus Trebbiana.
- Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes pg 164 Harcourt Books 2001 ISBN 0-15-100714-4
- J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes pg 129 Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN 0198600984
- Joseph Batianich & David Lynch Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy" pg 375-379 Clarkson Potter Publishers ISBN 9781400097746
- P. Saunders Wine Label Language pp. 187 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN 1-55297-720-X
- Vitis International Variety Catalogue (VIVC) Nuragus Accessed: October 7th, 2012