Nerello Capuccio , Nerello Mascalese , Corinto Nero,Grillo,Catarrato ,carricante, Inzollia , zibbibo , Malvasia della Lipari .
Wonderfully exotic titles but hardly household names bombarding me on arrival in Sicily and Aeolian Islands.
I was itching with excitement to experience local and historic grapes grown on the famed volcanic soils ,
rich in minerals producing distinctive and diverse wine styles.
First stop Trattoria da Nino In Taormina with a huge open wine cellar .
I’d asked for a good example of Nerello Mascalese having read the finest of these are comparable to Burgundy and Piemonte.
I was assured Wiegner Artemisio Etna Rosso would satiate and indeed it was soft supple fruity floral complex long and satisfying .
Only to google later , it was in fact a Cabernet Franc !
Delicious all the same .A timely reminder that Sicily grows a host of well known international grape varieties as well as indigenous.
Next stop Lipari , an hour by hydrofoil from Milazzo.
We decided on a sunset wine tasting . 30 hectares of bush vines in volcanic soil with panoramic views over the Aeolian Islands and sunset over Salina, Fillicudi and Alcudi
They have a modern winery with a bioenergetic cellar for minimal environmental impact , wind turbines to cool the cellar . Domes scattered amongst the vines with internal mirrors to light the cellar .
Grapes fall by gravity into immaculate clean stainless steel tanks .Experimental vines with alberelo vine pruning technique to allow maximal wind circulation from the sea as used by the Greeks .
The water is natural filtered through outdoor biofilter vegetation ,cellar construction using 2000 year old Greek techniques revealing 20000 years of layered rocks .We were treated to the most stunning sunset with panoramic views from 1000 ft above sea level.
Bianca Pomice 60 Malvasia 40 carricante crisp acidity florality capers flowers minerality
Rose corinto Nero 60 Nero D’Avola40 saignee method Strawberry earthy hint of smokiness.Good acidity
Corinto Nero from Greece as Korinthiaki, small berries seedless only a few bigger grapes with seeds
Leather earthy mature spice
Malvasia Delle Lipari DOCOnly 3000 bottles made .Ripe apricots , orange , marmalade floral rich delicious sweet perfectly balanced with acidity long and complex ,5 to 8% Corinto Nero
Tranquil beautiful boutique hotel with organic farm and vineyard on the slopes of Etna . The restaurant Nerello high on a terrace overlooking the Meditteranean has an encyclopaedic wine list only serving Etna wines !
Cattarrato 2006 Tenuta delle terre nere
Honey , ginger , spices , mineral long complex finish
Frank Cornellison natural wine 2013 Munjebel Vigne Alte From ungrafted 100 year old Nerello Masacalese vines .
Fresh red fruit earth spice and a developing savoury umami note after 30 minutes decanting long complex
Salvo and Antonio Benanti now run the business. Streamlining it having taken over from their father Giusseppe.
Charming twins with a focus on the future . Making wines from all 3 slopes of Etna . North- Nerello Mascalese and East Carricante .
In 1995 they started making varietal Nerello Mascalese wines prior to that it was mainly used blending and exported must .
Carricante is Etna’s flagship white and the basis for Etna Bianco DOC
Pietramarina Etna Bianco superiore 2012 peaches flowers mineral salinity citrus like acidity
Biancodicaselle 2009 Honeyed candied ginger orange long smooth
The wines produced on these volcanic soils displayed a mineral edge and a hint of salinity with lifted aromatics. It’s no surprise that the wines of Etna are so highly regarded.