Perhaps not everyone knows that since some years italian winegrowers can create excellent classic method sparkling wines in Italian regions different from those known as “traditional”. Well! Today I want to tell you about an excellent sparkling wine that comes from grapes harvested on the slopes of Mount Etna, in Sicily. Of course everybody knows Mount Etna and knows where it is: it’s the highest active volcano in Europe with its 3,350 meters of altitude. All around the mountain – on different sides – the vine has been cultivated for centuries, up to altitudes of 1,100-1,200 meters. For almost a decade the wines of Etna have become “cool” and therefore in great demand all over the world.
The sparkling wine I want to talk about is produced by Firriato, one of the most important winery on the island, based at Paceco (province of Trapani) in Western Sicily, but owns six different estates in various areas of Sicily: one of these properties is on the small island of Favignana. On the Etna is the Cavanera winery, in contrada Verzella, district of Castiglione di Sicilia, on the north side of the volcano, about 650 meters above sea level.
Firriato’s owner is Salvatore Di Gaetano. Since the 90s, with his wife Vinzia Novara has been able to offer very recognizable and famous Sicilian wines in Italy and abroad. Vinzia Novara has been defined as “the most elegant lady of Sicilian wine”, a woman who has combined energy and determination with the charm of her Mediterranean beauty. She’s a woman who, with grace, elegance and professionalism, has written one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the Sicilian wine revival. In the management company, the founders were joined by the young daughter Irene Di Gaetano and her husband Federico Lombardo di Monte Iato, who renewed the concept of wine production by focusing decisively on organic viticulture. This method is done especially for the vineyards and wines on Etna.
Now we’ll move on to wine. I immediately fell in love, from the first sip, of this excellent sparkling wine. It’is the Gaudensius Etna DOC Brut from Nerello Mascalese grapes in white vinified. It’s definied as a perfect union created from vines that spread their roots in the volcanic terrain and mountainside climate that only Etna can offer.
My tasting note. This sparkling wine is a Blanc de Noirs characterized by a permanence on the lees in the bottle for at least 36 months. Beautiful bright straw yellow, in the glass spreads Sicilian citrus fruit in profusion, anise, Mediterranean scrub, bread crust, honey, balsamic and liquorice hues, and a mineral note, almost of flint and hydrocarbon. The perlage is elegant, silky. At the sip it is soft, structured, elegant, complex, very savory and with a long almond finish.
You can drink at any meal.
Some technical data: grapes origin from sandy soils, with high drainage capacity. Harvest period: end of September, hand picked. Vinification: Soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation at controlled temperature. Second fermentation in bottle (classic method). Ageing in contact with the yeasts for over 36 months with frequent “Coup de poignet” to favor the complexity on the nose and palate. Dosage Brut; alcohol 12.56 % vol. First year production: 2009. Production: 18.000 bottles.
Retail price: € 19 – $ 23. My rating: 92/100
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