The rediscovery of wine production on Etna is probably the most important event of the last 20-30 years of Italian wine history. The high ground 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. Also, the contrast to the most harmful diseases for the vine (Peronospera, Oidio and Fillosera) is done 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.
In the upper part of a vineyard in Contrada Feudo di Mezzo are housed the centuries-old vines of Nerello Mascalese from which the wine Nonna Concetta was born, dedicated precisely to the grandmother of Massimiliano. After a careful manual harvest (usually around the middle of October), the grapes are transported to the cellar in small wicker baskets and here they are pressed gently, without stalk. Maceration, alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, which take place in wood (spontaneously), are followed by an aging of 12/18 months in wood and steel. After a long period of aging in bottle, the wine is ready for marketing.
The 2015 vintage has a pale ruby color with garnet nuances, and an olfactory range dominated by dried fig, prickly pear, broom and bergamot, with a contour of pomegranate, humus, garrigue and black olive, and concluding echoes of leather and vinyl. The fresh taste, which does not renounce to a pleasing softness, is chiselled by a dense tannic texture of fine workmanship, and a taste-olfactory return of fresher red fruit and spice (mainly vinyl) that accompany the sip until its good length closing.
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