Incontrando la Karen Blixen dei vini dell’Etna

Coraggio e passione, per unire 2 mondi apparentemente distanti: la Danimarca e la Sicilia. Due parole per descrivere l’idea meravigliosa di Anne-Louise Mikkelsen, la Karen Blixen dei vini dell’Etna, di Tenuta di Aglaea.

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La Sicilia è terra d’invasione per eccellenza, è il luogo del riposo di ogni guerriero” scriveva Pietrangelo Buttafuoco su Il Foglio nel 2003. E citava “Soldier’s guide to Sicily“, la guida che nel 1943 il generale Eisenhower  fece consegnare a ciascuno dei 450.000 soldati americani che sarebbero sbarcati in Sicilia, tradotta e ripubblicata da Sellerio: «Invasori e dominatori che si sono succeduti in tutte le epoche, hanno oppresso la popolazione. Greci, romani, cartaginesi, vandali, goti, bizantini, arabi, normanni, tedeschi, francesi, napoletani e infine gli italiani hanno dominato l’Isola».

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In realtà, in Sicilia siamo orgogliosi di tutto quello che questi popoli ci hanno insegnato e lasciato in eredità, anche nel mondo del vino. “Cosa c’è di meglio delle invasioni per accrescere la civiltà?” si chiedeva Lina Wertmüller. Continue reading “Incontrando la Karen Blixen dei vini dell’Etna”

This versatile Italian red is Sicily’s answer to Pinot noir (VinePair)

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.

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L’Etna by Guido Borelli

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)”

Torna il Sicilian Wine Awards, il premio dedicato ai migliori vini siciliani

Torna il Sicilian Wine Awards. La seconda edizione del concorso enologico organizzato dal giornale on line di enogastronomia Cronachedigusto.it e aperta a tutte le aziende siciliane. La premiazione è prevista il 22 ottobre nell’ambito di Taormina Gourmet.

Continue reading “Torna il Sicilian Wine Awards, il premio dedicato ai migliori vini siciliani”

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

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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…

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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…

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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)”

Gli articoli più letti di agosto 2017

Mese importante per il mondo del vino della Sicilia, in cui inizia la vendemmia. E come fra i vigneti non ci si ferma mai, anche qui su Vini di Sicilia non abbiamo staccato per andare in vacanza nemmeno in agosto. Continue reading “Gli articoli più letti di agosto 2017”

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