Muscarò 2017- Cossentino

Uva e Pomodoro

Muscarò 2017
(Az. Agricola Cossentino, Sicilia)

Un buon vino è come un buon film:
dura un istante e ti lascia in bocca un sapore di gloria;
è nuovo ad ogni sorso e, come avviene con i film,
nasce e rinasce in ogni assaggiatore.
Federico Fellini

Cossentino è un’azienda familiare che, dopo aver venduto per anni vino sfuso, dalla fine degli anni ’90 comincia a sperimentare le varietà più adatte con la consulenza dell’Istituto regionale del Vino e dell’Olio (Irvo). Estirpa la maggior parte del Catarratto, lasciando le viti migliori allevate ad alberello e immettendo Nero d’Avola, Grillo, Chardonnay, Cabernet e Syrah.

Nel 2006 realizza la propria cantina ed inizia a commercializzare le sue prime bottiglie. Ad oggi la cantina Cossentino vanta 15 ettari di vigneti, tutti biologici, che insistono nelle colline partinicesi a quote tra i 350 e 450 m slm, e 14 etichette. La produzione del Moscato Rosa…

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Etna 10 anni fa. Una retrospettiva attraverso 12 vini (Vinodabere)

La degustazione che da tre anni a questa parte inizia ad essere un emblema ed identifica sempre di più la VINIMILO è quella di “Etna dieci anni fa“, pensata ed ideata da Salvo Foti, al fine di rendere partecipi i consumatori e tutti gli appassionati di vino, delle potenzialità e dello stato evolutivo dei vini etnei. Nel 2008 il numero di cantine presenti sull’Etna ha avuto un incremento. Ciò ha dato la possibilità di poter degustare per questa terza edizione di Etna dieci anni fa un numero cospicuo di vini (sia bianchi che rossi) rigorosamente Etna D. O. C. Quest’anno poi il Consorzio dell’Etna D. O. C. ha eletto un nuovo Presidente (Antonio Benanti) e ricorre l’anniversario dei cinquant’anni per il riconoscimento della Denominazione di Origine Controllata.

Continue reading “Etna 10 anni fa. Una retrospettiva attraverso 12 vini (Vinodabere)”

Lipari e l’introvabile Isola bianca di Danilo Conti (Wine in Sicily)

Il vino è una faccenda di luoghi e di uomini (o donne). La prima attiene all’elemento geografico: sul dove nasce e cresce il frutto, ovvero il clima, il sole, il suolo, il vento, l’aria, la vegetazione, i profumi e tutto ciò che c’è attorno. Nel caso di un’isola, ad esempio, il mare.

La seconda attiene al carattere e alla personalità degli uomini che lo fanno.

Il caso della Azienda Agricola San Bartolo di Danilo Conti, di casa a Lipari, nello sfavillante arcipelago eoliano, mi colpisce e mi tocca da vicino. Continue reading “Lipari e l’introvabile Isola bianca di Danilo Conti (Wine in Sicily)”

Harvest on Mount Etna – Santa Maria La Nave (VIDEO)

This video tells about the 2017 harvest on Santa Maria La Nave’s vineyard on Monte Ilice. As you will see from this other video, Monte Ilice is a crater of incredible beauty. It is quite recent: less than 1000 years old, nothing if you consider that Mount Etna was born more than 600.000 years ago…

Etneans have understood Monte Ilice agricultural potential and started to cultivate it a few centuries after it was created. The soil, made of black volcanic sand and stone chippings, was perfect to grow Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Catarratto, and other local grapes that would be used to make Etnean wines. The grapes stayed intact until they were perfectly mature, thanks to the inclination of the crater, its exposure and its sandy soil, and the wine was deemed of high quality and “suited to the navigation” – i.e. it could endure a long sea journey. These characteristics played a critical part in the survival of the vineyard on Mount Ilice through the centuries. Continue reading “Harvest on Mount Etna – Santa Maria La Nave (VIDEO)”

How Nero d’Avola is shaping the future of Sicilian wine (

For anyone whose main experience of islands is the Isle of Wight, Sicily comes as a bit of a shock. Admittedly, both have plenty of sea, beach and pensioners driving round on holiday. But, whereas you can cycle most of the way round the splodge in the Channel in a day (at least, you can if you’re fitter than I am), Sicily is big. And lumpy. Even if he doped himself up like Lance Armstrong, Chris Froome couldn’t get round this little beauty in 24 hours.

At 25,000 sq m, Sicily is bigger than Wales and its geography is, frankly, nuts. On the meeting point of two tectonic plates, it’s a mountainous island with no shortage of 1500m-high peaks in the central range and along the north coast.

At its eastern edge, gazing over the rest of the island like a bad tempered grandmother, is the looming, belching, grumbling presence of Mount Etna. The beach at Shanklin struggles to compete. Which – in a seamless segue – is also what Sicily was struggling to do until recently. Continue reading “How Nero d’Avola is shaping the future of Sicilian wine (”

Sicily – A Wine Region That’s An Island Apart (Forbes)

Sicily has many positive images (as well as a few not-so-positive), but when it comes to Sicilian wines, the subject is a bit of a puzzle to many. There are several reasons for this, but lately, producers in select areas such as Vittoria, Noto and Etna are crafting some pretty special products that are receiving a lot of attention and changing the mindset of consumers and the wine trade about the wines of Sicily.

Perhaps the most positive notion of Sicily is that everyone knows the name, and anyone can find it on a map of Italy; this last point is certainly not true with some of the country’s regions such as Abruzzo, Marche or Emilia-Romagna. So familiarity helps gets Sicilian producers get a foot in the door in the market, but unfortunately the identity of this region’s wines has for too long been one of sub-par quality.

This is based on the notion that Sicily is not a place to produce wines of elegance and finesse; the hot climate leads to lower acidity, meaning the wines lack structure and freshness. Add to that the fact that for decades, most table wine that emerged from the region was little more than bulk wine; flavorful, yet heavy, these wines were often shipped in tankers to other parts of Italy to “beef up” lighter red wines.

In fact, the history of quality for Sicilian wines in previous years was primarily focused on Marsala, one of the world’s most highly praised fortified wines, made in several styles, from very dry to medium-sweet. Yet even given the renown for the finest examples of Marsala, the strongest image with this wine for many consumers is for cooking, as with Veal Marsala or Chicken Marsala, hardly the stuff of greatness.

Antonio Rallo, proprietor of Donnafuagata Winery, one of Sicily’s most famous producers (PHOTO COURTESY OF DONNAFUGATA)

About 40 years ago, a few producers decided to do something about the image of Sicilian wines, so production of bulk wine was decreased – although it is still a large part of the region’s wine industry – and planting of international varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah were undertaken. Add to this a new focus on indigenous varieties such as Grillo and Carricante for white and Nero d’Avola and Frappato for red, and all of a sudden, the Sicilian wine pallete was aglow with a multitiude of colors and flavors.

Talk to enough Sicilian producers and you’ll learn they believe that Sicily is a magical place to make wine, as it is such a distinctive land. “The climate, the countryside, the customs, the terroir and its varieties are very different from other regions,” says Alessio Planeta, co-proprietor of his family’s winery, one of the region’s greatest ambassadors.

Alessio Planeta, co-proprietor of Planeta Winery, one of the best known of all Sicilian wine estates (PHOTO COURTESY PLANETA WINERY)

The weather, though it may be hot, does assure that almost anything can grow on the island. “Sicily is regarded a place that can grow almost any grape presenting an extraordinary patrimony of biodiversity with over 70 indigenous grape varieties,” comments Antonio Rallo of Donnafugata, another renowned Sicilian wine estate. “This is why people describe Sicily as a wine continent.

Given its viticultural history skewed toward workman-like wine, it is no surprise that there has not been an iconic Sicilian wine, such as Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany, Barolo and Barbaresco from Piemonte or Amarone from the Veneto. While this may have meant a lack of media attention toward Sicilian wines, the renaissance that started 40 years ago and continues today, has resulted in exciting new ventures and paths of the region’s viticulture. “Sicily is in a constant acquisition of auto renewal,” says Planeta. There is an improvement in knowledge and awareness of our terroirs, as well as among ourselves.”

Today, the wines of the Etna District in northeastern Sicily, are the ones that garner the greatest attention. “Etna is the hot ticket for driving Sicily’s quality image, both in Italy and abroad, with its cooler climate, volcanic contenders red Nerello Mascalese and white Carricante having attracted much global attention among sommeliers and independent merchants,” Rallo remarks. Planeta agrees, commenting, “Etna has the magic at the moment and is a positive thing for all of the island.”

The wines of Etna are something of a minor miracle given the rocky soils of volcanic ash and pumice that were formed by lava flow from the nearby volcano. It’s a difficult venture for a grape grower, notes Giuseppe Tornatore of the eponymous Etna estate. “It takes a lot of patience and dedication because what elsewhere is done in one year, it is done in two years in Etna. It takes a lot of sacrifice, suffering always the magnetism of the volcano and everything that depends on it.

Examples of Etna Bianco are made primarily with the local Carricante grape and have various characteristics, with some offering melon and pear fruit, while others display distinct minerality, even resembling the wines of Chablis in Burgundy. Overall, the best of these whites have shown tremendous improvement in a very short period of time.

It is the reds however that are most famous, made from the indigenous Nerello Mascalese variety. These wines have been called “Italy’s Burgundies,” and no wonder given the appealing cherry and sometimes strawberry aromas and its sleek finish. Some producers have opted as of late for a more powerful style of Etna Rosso that is more tannic (almost like a Nebbiolo-based wine from Piedmont), but this dual identity only adds to the allure of the red wines of Etna.

Planeta Winery near Noto, one of several wine facilities of the company (PHOTO COURTESY OF PLANETA WINERY)

Arguably the best-known red from Sicily over the past twenty years has been Nero d’Avola, an indigenous variety. Its popularity is due to its appealing black cherry and plum fruit backed by relatively smooth tannins. Sicilian producers love it, as it also works well when blended with other red varieties such as Merlot and Syrah.

The Duca di Salaparuta winery bottled the first monovarietal Nero d’Avola they named “Duca Enrico” back in 1984; today this is still regarded as one of the best examples of this variety. Other classic examples include the “Mille e Una Notte” from Donnafugata (about 90% Nero d’Avola) and the “Santa Cecilia” from Planeta, labeled as Noto DOC. This last wine, initially made in the 1997 vintage, has become a classic example of Nero d’Avola structured for aging, as 12 and 15-year old bottles are still drinking well.

Another red that has become successful over the past few years is Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato. Cerasuolo means “cherry like”; this fruit emerges in the aromas, along with red and orange rose perfumes, and there are soft, silky tannins, thanks to the Frappato. Here is a red that tastes great when chilled for 15-20 minutes, and given the lightness of the tannins, it is ideal with duck breast, chicken in red wine or even tuna. Top examples include the Feudi del Pisciotto “Giambattista Valli”, the “Floramundi” from Donnafugata, and the alluring, ultra delicious “Dorilli” from Planeta.

Briefly on whites, Grillo is an indigenous variety that for years was used in the production of Marsala. But on its own, it has appealing exotic fruit aromas and pairs well with a variety of foods, from poultry to lighter seafood; look for the examples from Valle dell’Acate and the “Sur Sur” from Donnafugata.

There are countless other whites that I can recommend, from the 100% Fiano from Planeta known as “Cometa,” a sumptuous, dry white that is among Italy’s best, as well as “Lighea” a dry Zibibbo (Moscato) from Donnafugata, and the Tasca d’Almerita “Contea di Sclafani” Chardonnay. There are countless treasures – white, red and sweet – throughout Sicily – and the best producers there are diligent in their efforts to take the region’s wines to the next step, as Planeta remarks. “We are past the period of experimentation and are now in a period of increasing our knowledge of our terroirs. We are uniting the results of past years with a studious attention of tradition.

The rest of this interesting article and the notes on current releases are here.

Grillo Doc 2017 – Baglio delle Fate

Uva e Pomodoro

Grillo Doc 2017
(Baglio delle Fate, Sicilia)

Il vino è la risposta della terra al sole.
Margaret Fuller

La cantina Baglio delle Fate si trova a Caltagirone e nasce per volontà di Judeka S.r.l. Società Agricola, che ne detiene sia la proprietà che il controllo.
Il packaging di “Baglio delle Fate”, rappresenta fortemente la Sicilia, ed in particolare, l’area in cui opera l’azienda, Caltagirone, famosa nel mondo per le ceramiche artistiche, ad essa si ispirano sia le etichette che il logo: la testa di Moro.

Sapete la leggenda della testa di Moro? Ve la raccontiamo in breve: la leggenda narra che nel quartiere arabo di Palermo, la Kalsa, durante la dominazione araba, vi abitasse una bellissima fanciulla che trascorreva le giornate a curare i fiori del suo balcone. Un giorno, un giovane moro, passando sotto il balcone della fanciulla, la notò e se ne invaghì perdutamente. Le dichiarò subito il…

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Sicilia, il Passito della Solidarietà


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“Per noi il vino è sempre stato gioie e dolori perché vissuto con passione e amore, non come semplice mestiere o business. Questa mattina la più brutta delle sorprese, di quelle che ti lasciano basita, incredula: hanno rubato il nostro zibibbo quasi appassito, quindi per noi ancora più prezioso. Un lavoro enorme di un anno, fra cura della vigna e poi di una difficilissima vendemmia. RUBATO in una notte. In un territorio dove papà ha iniziato a lavorare con difficoltà ma caparbietà credendo fortemente in questo vino e dove si dorme con le porte aperte per la fiducia che abbiamo sempre avuto in questa isola. Non ci sono parole, solo delusione e amarezza”.

Questo il post apparso in questi giorni su Facebook e firmato da Gipi De Bartoli, #vendemmia2018 #Zibibbo #Bukkuram

Uno di quei post che non vorremmo mai leggere. Che dice tutto. Che insieme a tanta tristezza scatena rabbia, dolore…

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Pantelleria, figlia del vento e madre di vini e sapori unici (

Si narra che a Pantelleria il mitico Ulisse abbia incontrato Calipso, donna bellissima che si innamorò dell’eroe. L’incontro avvenne nella Grotta di Sataria, antro segreto a sud dell’isola che si apre sul Mediterraneo e da cui si può scorgere la vicina Africa. Un racconto avvolto nel mistero e che ebbe in passato molteplici versioni. La stessa indicazione logistica presenta dubbi, ma quel che è certo è che, oggi come allora, la Figlia del ventoBent el Rhia, mantiene immutato il suo fascino arcano e dai colori selvaggi. Sempre diversa, sempre uguale a se stessa ma in continua trasformazione. Luogo reale e mitico nel quale il Maestrale è il principe e, insieme al Sole, determina i destini di questi luoghi. Una danza dei venti e dei marosi, che ha forgiato alture e luoghi, insieme al fuoco sprigionatosi nei millenni dalle viscere della terra.

Di un’isola così ci si innamora perdutamente, ma Pantelleria non svela mai del tutto se stessa all’innamorato, lasciandosi scoprire poco a poco. Un’isola grande, dal mare blu e profondo, che vive un intenso rapporto con la terra, nutrice e fonte di vita. Luogo di vigne, di capperi e ortaggi, Pantelleria: terra nera e vulcanica, di zibibbo e di sudore dell’uomo, che nei secoli l’ha lavorata, coltivandola dalle alture fino all’acqua, lasciando agli occhi del visitatore uno straordinario spettacolo di muretti a secco.

Il nostro amore per Pantelleria è antico e consolidato e non basterebbe un libro per descrivere l’isola.

Continue reading “Pantelleria, figlia del vento e madre di vini e sapori unici (”

“Il vino naturale è il mezzo ma non il fine ” – Intervista a Nino Barraco (video)

Sulla pagina YouTube di Cronache di Gusto  2 minuti di un’interessante intervista a Nino Barraco, che parla di vini naturali, territorio e del futuro del vino Marsalese: ossidativo.

Per me il  vino naturale è il mezzo e non il fine; il fine deve essere un grande vino. Dobbiamo cercare di riproporre la storicità del territorio ma con un’idea moderna, non è possibile ripetere due volta una stessa emozione.” E cita Vite ad Ovest e Pierpaolo Badalucco.