An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse (Wine Spectator)

Paolo Caciorgna, the acclaimed Tuscan enologist who makes wines for stellar estates like Montalcino’s Altesino and La Serena as well as for music stars Sting and Andrea Bocelli, never planned to make wine on Sicily’s Mount Etna.

But 15 years ago, longtime friend and American importer Marco de Grazia invited Caciorgna to his newly founded Tenute delle Terre Nere on the volcano’s north-facing slopes. Continue reading “An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse (Wine Spectator)”

Gaja and Graci gear up for their First Etna Harvest (Indian Wine Academy)

Sep 15: The new Sicilian joint venture of the ‘Prince of Piedmont’ and the Wine Enthusiast Man of the year Angelo Gaja and the Etna producer Alberto Graci, is getting ready for the first harvest next month, to be fermented at Graci’s winery in the village of Passopisciaro on the north slope of Mount Etna and sold through Gaja Distribuzione, the distribution arm of Gaja family
Click For Large ViewI met Angelo Gaja, the iconic producer of Gaja wines in Piedmont with wineries also in Bolgheri and Montalcino in Tuscany, in 2002When I met the Man from Barbaresco, in 2003 at the Ca’Marcanda  winery in Bolgheri and asked him if he had plans of buying more wineries, Gaja told me he had several offers from foreign producer to collaborate but he declined because he liked to have the vines always under his nose so he could monitor the grape quality.

While interviewing him at his winery in Barbaresco in June 2009, he said, ‘I am still getting offers every week but I still feel the same. Besides, now I am not that young. The kids have grown up. They have to decide. If they want to do it they can go ahead.’ He was then 69 years old, at an age where most men think of retiring. But he was focussing on shaping his daughters Gaia and Rossana who are now totally involved in the business along with younger brother Giovanni.

Retiring Gaja?

While reporting the Vertical Tasting of top-ended Gaja wine Sorì San Lorenzo 1971-2011 in November 2014, Antonio Galloni, the American expert on Italian wines, wrote, “Angelo and Lucia Gaja’s children, Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni, are now increasingly involved in the family business. Generational succession is the single greatest challenge facing Piedmont’s wineries today. If Angelo and Lucia Gaja can take their hands off their estate, to their children and give them the freedom to make decisions, they will succeed where so many others before them have failed.”

The succession seemed to be complete when the siblings brought back the IGT single vineyards iconic wines like Sori San Lorenzo into the DOCG Barbaresco fold with his blessings and Gaia Gaja so admitting.

Therefore it came as a surprise in April this year when, at the age of 77 and almost 50 years after taking reins of the family winery, Angelo announced stepping beyond the mainland Italy (both Montalcino and Bolgheri in Tuscany are at a motorable distance from his home in Barbaresco) and going to the volcanic Etna region in Sicily. And for the first time he decided to partner outside the family in a business venture when he chose to collaborate with Alberto Graci (pronounced  Gra-chi) as his equal joint venture partner to buy vineyards and set up a separate winery.

Continue reading “Gaja and Graci gear up for their First Etna Harvest (Indian Wine Academy)”

Marsala’s Barrel Makers

Alice in Wonderlands

IMG_1700

Li Causi barrel at Tasca’s Regaleali estate

I had first seen the Li Causi logo a few months ago, stamped onto a barrel at Tasca’s Regaleali estate. The image is of a man hammering rings of metal onto a wooden barrel. I took a photo of it, with a mental note to research the company. I didn’t, time got away from me and I forgot about the little hammering man…until last week.

Honestly, barrels aren’t something that I often think about. I should though–they are used in the fermentation and aging of the majority of big reds, also a number of white wines too. Each seemingly insignificant stage of the barrel making process will affect the final result of the wine: from the age of the wood to the level of ‘toasting’. Tasca ages some of their wines in Li Causi barrels: the results are fantastic. The Riserva Del Conte…

View original post 1.020 altre parole

Aitna Etna Rosso

Vineyards Paper

Aitna was a Greek-Siceliot polis located on the slope of the volcano Etna.  They called this wine Aitna to honour their volcano on which it grows, choosing the Aetna tetradrachm as our winery logo.

It is produced from autochthnous grapes: Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio cultivated using the classic “alberello” system. They have been cultivated since ancient times and produce a wine enriched by flavours and scents. The sandy volcanic soil gives the wine unique and characteristic mineral notes. The vineyard of Edome’ cantine is situated in Passopisciaro, in the district of Feudo di Mezzo and it is at 700 m a.s.l.

We tasted: Etna Rosso 2014

It is a Ruby red wine with fine hints of violet. The bouquet is ethereal, spicy with hints of tobacco and vanilla. The flavor is full bodied, with the right amount of tannin, dry, persistent and harmonic. For the food matching it is…

View original post 7 altre parole

Meet the man making wine on the edge of Europe’s largest active volcano (CNBC)

At around 900 meters high, Frank Cornelissen‘s wine estate sits at the limit of where viticulture was done historically, and also today.

Wine has been growing on the slopes of Mount Etna for over 2,000 years and only now is it catching the eye of investors, with several large Italian wine producers recently investing in the region.

Every morning you wake up the first thing you do is looking at this mountain,” Cornelissen told CNBC. “It (Mount Etna) is a sign of life. It’s pretty fearsome when it explodes; it is, for me, very attractive also.”

Lava flows from the Mount Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily, near Catania, late on December 6, 2015.
Giovanni Isolino | AFP | Getty Images

The Sicily-based winemaker employs 20 young workers and along with himself and his wife, they run the 24-hectare wine estate. Cornelissen’s natural approach to wine and the resources he has in the foothills of Mount Etna have defined his product.

My approach to wine is very much combining the ancient with what today is available in quality. I think this is a great period for people who can make choices,” he said.”Now the soil is black, it’s very unusual because it can go from literally rocks, and then compact rock, to a powder. It is full of minerals, it has a great quality of drainage and so vines can last centuries“.

Continue reading “Meet the man making wine on the edge of Europe’s largest active volcano (CNBC)”

Etna’s Chestnut Past

THE ETNA WINE SCHOOL

The forests on the volcano Etna contain hundreds of thousands of chestnut trees. Over the last millennia the forests have served as a resource for wood barrels and tanks.

When compared to other wood containers, research has proven that the chestnut wood helps the red wines (Etna Rosso) retain deeper color for a longer period of time.

This was invaluable for long over-sea shipments and the organoleptic value of the wines. For centuries, Etna wines have arrived in the glasses of consumers looking young, smelling of fresh cherries and bramble fruit, and tasting soft and supple.

Today, French and Slavonian oak have joined chestnut as an alternative wood container. Along with inert containers like stainless steele and fiberglass, the container communicates different flavors and aromas into the wine.

Fans of Etna wines have a unique opportunity to engage Etna producers as the ancient wine region continues to reinvent itself.

What…

View original post 21 altre parole

World’s oldest Italian wine just discovered (EurekAlert)

Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy. A large storage jar from the Copper Age (early 4th millennium BC) tests positive for wine.

This finding published in Microchemical Journal is significant as it’s the earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula. Traditionally, it’s been believed wine growing and wine production developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300-1100 B.C.) as attested just by the retrieval of seeds, providing a new perspective on the economy of that ancient society.

Lead author Davide Tanasi, PhD, University of South Florida in Tampa conducted chemical analysis of residue on unglazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily. He and his team determined the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process.

It’s very rare to determine the composition of such residue as it requires the ancient pottery to be excavated intact. The study’s authors are now trying to determine whether the wine was red or white.

Sorgente: World’s oldest Italian wine just discovered

Wine Can Transport You

Experience Sicily

I brought this Etna Rosso back from Sicily in July, after staying at the vineyard where it was produced. In addition, Experience Sicily’s Evelina Buttitta has been staying at the property’s agriturismo in Linguaglossa on Etna the past two nights with friends. So, it was wondrous that I was able to bring Scilio Wines’ Orphéus lable to celebrate Danielle Oteri of Feast on History birthday barbecue in New York City tonight. As soon as I took a sip, I was transported right back to the slopes of the volcano, tasting bold, earthy flavors including overtones of porcini mushrooms, olives, and flowers. I am always amazed, when I let myself be taken by a wine, that I can be led right to its terroir. Tonight, I was back at Valle Galfina Resort, yet I was sitting in the middle of Harlem.

View original post

Azienda Agricola Occhipinti, natural wines in Sicily (Orange Wines)

A country road connecting Gela to Kamarina going through Cerasuolo di Vittoria hills and from Caltagirone it continued to Catania and Lentini. This road is the SP68. One might think that there is nothing special about this road but if you know about Sicily wine then you know about this road. It crosses Fossa di Lupo District where one of the most special wineries in this island is located: Agricola Occhipinti, where owner and winemaker Arianna Occhipinti produces her world-known wines.

Continue reading “Azienda Agricola Occhipinti, natural wines in Sicily (Orange Wines)”

For an Italian Wine Region That Does It All, Turn to Sicily (VinePair)

Welcome to Sicily, home of orange trees, olive groves, and more vineyards than you could possibly imagine. While we might think of Sicily as being small, it’s actually the largest island in the entire Mediterranean Sea, giving way to a serious array of grape-growing opportunities. With various terrains, topographical diversity, and that little old volcano on the eastern end of the island, there’s really no doubt about it; when it comes to wine, Sicily can do it all.

Continue reading “For an Italian Wine Region That Does It All, Turn to Sicily (VinePair)”