The Mammolo grape is a red wine varietal believed to have its origins in Tuscany - Italy. Today this varietal is becoming a minor component in blended red wines, but historically a significant aromatic red varietal from central Italy, and an ideal, possibly the perfect blending partner with Sangiovese. Today it is slightly more influential on the French island of Corsica, where it is locally called Sciaccarello.
Mammolo is a very old Tuscan grape varietal - taking its name from the flower ‘Viola Mammola, the Italian name for ‘Viola odorata’ or sweet violet, and is related to the wines aroma. DNA research has found that two grape varietals grown on the French island of Corsica known as Sciaccarello and Malvasia Montanaccio are identical to Mammolo.

 

It is believed from historical evidence that Mammolo was taken from Tuscany across to Corsica, rather than the other way around. It is thought to have occurred either during the rule of the Republic of Pisa which was from 1077-1284, or during the Republic of Genova which was from 1284-1768.
The Mammolo varietal began to become less popular with Tuscan winemakers in the 1960’s - due to the resulting wine prone to rapidly oxidising, so not an ideal character for age worthy wines. The Mammolo grape is found nowhere else in Italy but in Tuscany. And in the region, there is currently less than 100 hectares of producing vines planted *(as of 2010).
It can be found in Arezzo, Grosseto, Lucca, Pistoia and in the Siena wine regions of Tuscany - but it can also be found on the island of Corsica, and is select areas of the USA and in parts of south Australia.
You can find the Mammolo varietal in DOC wine blends such as - Carmignano, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, Montergio di Mass, Massa Marittima, Colli di Luni and in Rosso and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to name a few.
Mammolo tends to thrive in poor dry soils and with clay-rich, alkaline conditions. The bunches are medium to large in size, with plump red-blue berries. The varietal is susceptible to botrytis. And it has been said that very few red wine grape varietals have or express an aroma that is so intensely violet and so instantly recognisable. Also - with lifted pepper notes that on occasion can put Syrah to shame.
The varietal works and pairs extremely well with Sangiovese, bring out the best characters and not diluting and over powering its aromas or flavours. The resulting blended wines are typically medium-bodied with a moderate level of alcohol and with expressive aromas which even improves with age.
On the island of Corsica - *(as of 2008) there is approximately 750 hectares of producing vines planted - Mammolo is often used form crafting rosé wines. So, when next reading the tasting note of one of the above Toscana wines - and you notice 10% is made up of other indigenous varietals - there is a good chance Mammolo is playing a role in the finished wine.