The red grape variety comes from Sardinia-Italy. Synonyms are Manzesu, Monaca, Monica di Sardegna, Monica di Spagna, Monika Nera, Niedda de Ispagna, Niedda Mora, Nieddera Manna, Austrian Habamonthe, Pansale Nero, Pansale Nieddu, Pansaleddu, Pascale Sardu, Pascal Noir, Plant Pascal and Uva Monaca. It must not be confused with the Nieddera or Pascale varieties, despite the fact that synonyms or morphological similarities seem to indicate this. Nothing is known about a possible relationship to the white variety Pascal Blanc. As with many other Sardinian varieties, it is assumed that it was introduced during the Spanish occupation (1323-1720) and spread by monks (Monaci). The Spanish origin is supported by a DNA analysis carried out in 2013. This is because Monica Nera comes from a presumably natural cross between the Spanish variety Hebén and an unknown partner. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics).
The medium ripening, high-yielding vine is resistant to spring frosts and powdery mildew, but less resistant to downy mildew. It produces dark, simple red wines. The vine is also used as a table grape. It is spread all over the island and is authorised in the DOC wines Cagliari, Campidano di Terralba, Mandrolisai and Monica di Sardegna. In 2010, the variety occupied 1,404 hectares of vineyards in Italy, with a sharply declining trend (ten years earlier it was 2,835 hectares). There are also small areas in France and Tunisia, but no stocks have been identified here (Kym Anderson).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: M.I.P.A.A.F - National Vine Certification Service