Pietro Lilliu and his wife Roberta met when Pietro was pitching his family wines to Roberta’s store in Cagliari, Sardegna’s capital city. At that time Pietro had taken the reigns of the family land from his father taking this humble family’s dream to the next stage. Pietro had big hopes for this small two hectares parcel in the Marmilla, an area of Sardegna that I struggle to deem as one known for it’s winemaking.
The Marmilla is 35 minutes north of Cagliari and is in the middle of the island, surrounded by hills with amazingly no sign of the ocean, which seems to touch every corner of this island. Instead you have these hills, that were deforested about the Pietmontese a century ago leaving parts of Sardgena, like here in the Marmilla, to become almost desert-like after a hot dry summer.
It’s in these conditions where Pietro has almost miraculously created a perfect ecosystem on these pesky two hecatres. He farms naturally, but is not one who cares to determine himself so. He truly believes however that being in synch with nature and creating an ecosystem of different trees and plants has allowed him to carve out his slice of paradise in Sardegna’s unforgiving terrain. Visiting in October after Sardegna has gone without rain for five months is where you witness the beauty of his work. His vineyard is perfectly healthy and water still remains deep under ground for his vines to seek out. If you look anywhere beyond this small property you will notice the ground cracking and fissures practically opening up due to how dry it is, but not at Pietro and Roberta Lilliu’s property.
I remember pulling up to the Lilliu family home and driving through the gate. This is small time farming where they live above the cellar. When I pulled in and met this incredible family for the first time I took one look around and could immediately tell I had discovered the real deal. The winery has all Pietro needs for his minimalistic winemaking approach. The cellar has few gizmos and gadgets like many modern cellars on mainland Italy but instead many old school instruments and pieces of paper to measure fermentation readings to determine if wines have fermented to dryness or not.
As mentioned Lilliu is sitting on two hectares of vine that get tractored to the cellar about 5 miles away when ready. They have arrived at about 20,000 bottles production and I don’t expect that number to increase unless they are able to plant another hectare of vine nearby. This couple has big aspirations though in terms of building a new cellar and being able to welcome tourists and helping them discover the real Sardegna.
Malvasia di Cagliari
Varietal : Malvasia 100%
Cannonau in Bianco
Varietal : Cannonau 100%
Varietal : Cannonau 60%, Bovale 30%, Syrah 10%
Varietal : Cannonau 100%