The rediscovery of wine production on Etna is probably the most important event of the last 20-30 years of Italian wine history. The deep-sea volcanic soils have become the cradle that hosts the cultivation of vines such as the two Nerello (Mascalese and Cappuccio) Carricante and Minnella, giving rise to wines that have taken very little to impose themselves to the attention of the most demanding and updated palates.
Among the protagonists of this Etna ‘nouvelle vague’ the Calabretta winery plays an apparently hidden role, far from the spotlight and fashions of the moment, but decidedly with an high profile. On the other hand, it is a winery founded in the early ‘900 by Gaetano and his wife Anna, developed in the post-war period by his son Salvatore with his wife Concetta, and came in the ’90s in the hands of his nephew Massimo and his great-grandson Massimiliano Calabretta.
In the owned lands, ranging from an altitude of 680 to over 900 meters above sea level, are housed mostly ungrafted plants, with some vineyards more than 100 years old. The work in the vineyard has a natural approach, with a great manual work on the vines and the soil, and a recourse to the mechanics of the tractor and the tiller only when strictly necessary. The contrast to the most harmful diseases for the vine (Peronospera, Oidio and Fillosera) is done as well without the use of chemical products, except a homeopathic quantity of sulfur (on the ground) and verderame, with a great job of preventive pruning, to allow the correct aeration of the vines, and the maintenance of a healthy and dry microclimate.
Although the winery is famous for its red wines, it does not disdain the production of white wines, like this Carricante, obtained from grapes harvested manually towards the first decade of October. Once in the cellar the grapes are destemmed and then briefly macerated in cold, before the gentle pressing and spontaneous fermentation, by means of indigenous yeasts, in steel tanks. The wine, after racking, ages for two years, always in steel tanks, and for another eight months in bottle, before commercialization.
The 2018 vintage has a full straw color with an olfactory range that opens on notes of cedar, lime, kumquat and helichrysum, followed by dried apricot, hawthorn, burnt shell and damp flint, with final slightly smoked echoes. The palate immediately shows the alternation between a soft enveloping sensation and the citrus freshness enriched, in the background, by the sapid-mineral component; all while return the citrus, the shell and the smoke that accompany the sip until a good length closing.
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