Pietradolce is a new estate among Etna producers, founded in 2005 by the Faro’s, a pioneer family in the green business development. The Faro’s is a leader in Europe and Middle East for growing flowers and plants, thanks to Venerando Faro, aged 72, from Aci Sant’Antonio (in Catania province) who invented and crated a Nature’s jewel, Radicepura, a natural park, water and energetic self-sufficient, in Acireale and a must-stop place for thousands of visitors every year.
From Nature to Viticulture it’s an easy step. The vineyard is a creation of Michele and Mario Faro, that inherited from their father the deep passion for Nature and vines.
The vineyards (20 hectares of their own property) are in Solicchiata and Passopisciaro in the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, the Northern side of volcano Etna. The plots are three: two vineyards in contrada Rampante and one in contrada Zottorinoto, from 600 to 900 mts asl, with 50-65 year-old-vines, mainly Nerello Mascalese grape. A small part of the vineyard is planted with Carricante, from a pre-phylloxera vine of 120 years old, whose grapes are only for Archineri Etna Bianco and the top white, Sant’Andrea.
Vines are grown as bush, including Vigna Barbagalli, whose red grapes are grown down low from a century-old pre-phylloxera vine. This is the red wine I am talking about today, a clear example of Etna viticulture.
Vigna Barbagalli Nerello Mascalese is grown in sandy soils, rich of minerals.
My tasting notes. Pietradolce Vigna Barbagalli Etna Rosso DOC 2015. The colour is typical of Mascalese: light ruby red, not deep. On the nose the rocky, mineral notes are of great impact, mixed with balsamic notes, coffee grains, leather and hydrocarbons notes with reminiscences of rose petals, wild blackberries, spices as cloves and juniper. The aroma is intense but not overwhelming. With a last sniff, it recalls the volcanic ash. On the mouth, it is intense, rich, full, fresh and salty, smooth enough, with nice tannins and a final taste of maraschino. It may seem wild, but it is a well done extreme and heroic wine. To me, it’s the first wine that goes beyond the borders, showing the potential of the winemaking in Etna area. An unforgettable red!
Some Technical info. Nerello Mascalese is from pre phylloxera century year old vines. After the harvest the grapes’ maceration with skins lasts for 18 days and then the grapes are gently crushed. The wine is aged 20 months in French-oak tonneaux and 6 months in the bottle. The agronomist is Giuseppe Parlavecchio and the consultant is Carlo Ferrini.
Retail Price: € 120 – $ 137 – My rating: 95/100
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