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)”
|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
|I met Angelo Gaja, the iconic producer of Gaja wines in Piedmont with wineries also in Bolgheri and Montalcino in Tuscany, in 2002. When 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.
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)”
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.”
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)”
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
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)”
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)”