To describe a wine as “salty” may not seem like much of a compliment. Yet it can be high praise indeed.
Some of the world’s greatest wines have a distinct saline tang. In France, where the vocabulary for describing wine dwarfs the capacity of English, to remark on a wine’s “salinité” is to toss a welcome though perhaps voguish verbal bouquet.
In my experience, few wines demonstrate this notion of salinity as well as the whites in the Etna Bianco category, made largely or entirely from carricante grapes grown in the foothills of Mount Etna in Sicily. They are marked by a distinctive savory tang that the winemakers will tell you is blown in by the salty wind off the Mediterranean.
Here at Wine School, where for the last month we have been drinking Etna Biancos, we prize savory wines. We also recognize that they are likely to be an acquired taste, especially for palates honed in the United States.
Once again Eric Asimov teaches about Sicilian wines to the American readers of The New York Times. Yesterday it has been published a nice introduction to Carricante and Etna Bianco. Here you can see part of this article:
In the last few years, Sicily and Mount Etna in particular have become well known for their red wines, particularly those made of the nerello mascalese grape, which we drank back in 2016.
This time, we will look at the white wines of Mount Etna, known as Etna Bianco. These wines are made largely, sometimes entirely, of carricante. As with so many Italian grapes, it was little known and little appreciated until the last 10 or 15 years, when winemakers began to show just how good carricante could be.
A few weeks ago, I started chronicling my press trip to Sicily, the almost mystical island off the toe of Italy. We started the week on the East side of the island, navigating around Mount Etna, the active volcano that influences every aspect of life.
Day 3, we visited Pietradolce, and Day 4 took us to Baglio di Pianetto, the closest winery to Palermo, the capital of Sicily.
There were a few aspects to teaching High School that I did not enjoy: interactions with parents (particularly those whose children were not faring well in my class—rarely would they hold their offspring even a bit at fault), writing end of term comments on every student, and when prospective students would come to observe my class.
Beacause of the last year’s success, we do it again!
We have browsed on Wine Searcherto see which are the wines of Sicily that are most searched around the world. Analyzing the data of Wine Searcher, we start again this year from a grape that in the world is undoubtedly linked to our wines: Nero d’Avola.
Italy has always been my playground in the wine world. With a spine of mountains running down the length of country, Italy offers the oenophile an opportunity without parallel to explore a plethora of wine from varying aspects, altitudes and microclimates. Exciting times are ahead for the Italian wine industry, and Sicily stands at the forefront.
Put down the Pinot Noir and step away from the corkscrew. There’s a new light red in town, and — I’m going to say it —it’s better.
Nerello Mascalese isn’t some sommelier favorite that’s hard to pronounce and impossible to find outside of hipster wine bars. It’s the people’s grape of Mount Etna, Sicily, and one of the few varieties that have survived centuries of trends, phylloxera, and volcanic eruptions.
Sicily is no stranger to grapevines, but most of the island’s modern winemaking has focused on bulk production and sweet Marsala. While certain growers were caving to economic pressures and replanting ancient vineyards with high-yielding varieties destined for bulk wine, Nerello Mascalese continued to silently thrive. A longtime local favorite, it’s also getting its due beyond the confines of the Mediterranean’s largest island. Continue reading “This versatile Italian red is Sicily’s answer to Pinot noir (VinePair)”→
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.