WanderCurtis Wine

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Vini Vulcanici – A Sicilian Adventure

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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 .IMG_5909

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.



IMG_6029Tenuta Di Castellaro in Lipari

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.

Wines Tasted

Bianca Pomice 60 Malvasia 40 carricante crisp acidity florality capers flowers mineralityIMG_6053

Rosa Carolino

Rose corinto Nero 60 Nero D’Avola40 saignee method Strawberry earthy hint of smokiness.Good acidity

Nero Ossidinia 

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


Monaci delle terre nere

 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


Azienda Benanti

IMG_6116Salvo 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 smoothIMG_6141



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.

One thought on “Vini Vulcanici – A Sicilian Adventure

  1. Pingback: Vini Vulcanici – A Sicilian Adventure — WanderCurtis Wine |

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