Gulfi is a winery founded in the homonymous locality of Chiaramonte Gulfi, in the south-western quadrant of the Iblei Mountains, in the province of Ragusa, by Vito Catania, an entrepreneur of Sicilian origins transplanted to Milan who, in 1996, decided to return to his homeland, to take over the wine tradition that his family had developed over three generations. The winery management has always been inspired by the productive philosophy of Salvo Foti, one of the most authoritative voices of Sicilian enology, whose collaboration has helped to create a virtuous development system that did not take long to have its first effects.
The first great innovation that this duo produced was the mass selection of the vines and their subdivision, in the 70 hectares of property, into different microplots, with the intention of laying the foundations for a viticulture based on the concept of Cru. Alongside this zonating form, a rarity for Sicily in those years, it was decided to practice a kind of viticulture respectful of the system-vineyard, decision that led, as a logical consequence, to the organic certification. This productive approach was made possible also thanks to the choice of using the cultivation of saplings which, with its botanical characteristics, made it possible to renounce, with less difficulty, the use of invasive chemicals, replaced by manure and inter-row cultivation of legumes, whose green manure naturally enriches the soil with nitrogen.
Among the wines produced, Nerojbleo deserves a special mention as it is the first label produced by Vito’s father, Raffaele Catania, in the 80s; a label that the son made his own with the will to collect the paternal witness, and to make it the standard-bearer of the company. It is a Nero d’Avola produced from vineyards planted at high density (8000 vines per hectare), in the areas of Chiaramonte Gulfi and Ragoleti, on calcareous-clay soil at 450 meters above sea level. The grapes (no more than one kilo per plant) are harvested manually, with a first selection already in the plant, vinified in red, after a long maceration on the skins, and aged for 12 months in barriques and tonneaux. After bottling, it takes another year to stop in glass before the wine is marketed.
The 2018 vintage has an intense ruby color, with an evident density, with a range of aromas that opens with hints of blackberry cherry, cooked plum, Mediterranean scrub and tomato concentrate, with the contour of creme de cassis, pot pourri of violet and black fig, with echoes of coriander and Sichuan pepper. The taste is mainly soft, enveloping and glyceric, as if to whisper an idea of sweetness, but this first impression is immediately balanced by an unexpected and pleasing balsamic freshness; it all accompanied by the return of dark fruit and tomato concentrate that drive the sip until a good length and persistence closure.
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