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ETNA

Etna is an iconic site that includes 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest part and it is located on the eastern coast of Sicily. Mt. Etna is the highest mountain on the Mediterranean island and it is the most active volcano in the world. The volcano’s eruptive history dates back 500,000 years and we have documentation of this activity for at least the last 2700 years.

Mt. Etna’s almost constant eruptive activity continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth science disciplines. The volcano also supports important terrestrial ecosystems, including endemic flora and fauna and it is a natural laboratory for studying ecological and biological processes. The varied and accessible range of volcanic characteristics such as the top craters, ash cones, lava flows and the “Valle del Bove” depression have made the site a privileged destination for research and education.

IL CLIMA
The Sicilian climate and the fertility of the volcanic soil are fundamentally important for the quality of the typical Etna products. Some of the more prevalent of the many products are wine, honey, apples, oil, chestnuts, pistachios, mushrooms, almonds, hazelnuts and vegetables. The wine production relies on particular vines cultivated on volcanic soil on the slopes of Etna that give the local grapes high quality and unique organoleptic characteristics. Precisely these qualities have allowed Etna wine to receive the DOC mark.
The quality of the Etna vineyards is closely connected to their volcanic origins and it is made up of crumblings of lava rock of various ages and eruptive materials such as lapilli, ash and sand. The extraordinary mineral content of Etna's volcanic soil is the base for the great flavor and typical quality of the wines that are produced here. Like the layout of the terrain, the climate also makes the Etna area a territory in a class of its own compared to the rest of Sicily. On Etna, the average temperatures are lower and the climate also changes based on the side and the altitude. From a winemaking standpoint, the high temperature range between day and night that contributes to making the wines full-bodied, fresh and elegantly scented is extremely important. Local DOC Etna varieties: Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio for the red, Catarratto and Carricante for the white.
IL NERELLO MASCALESE
Historically, the Nerello Mascalese in the Etna area dates back to 1543, the year when Emperor Charles V allowed Bishop Caracciolo to “promote” the plain of Mascali to county. The prelate offered these lands in emphyteusis (a sort of long-term lease) to winegrowers, contributing to the spread of the local grape variety and wine production in general. The first written documentation on the variety date back to 1760, in the Sestini work Memorie sui vini siciliani (Memoirs of Sicilian Wines).
However, it was only in the Roman era that the Nerello Mascalese began to spread across the slopes of Etna, becoming an interesting alternative to the Falerno. Here it would plant its roots definitively in the territory of the plain of Mascali, a narrow agricultural area between the sea and Etna in the Catania province, hence the name Mascalese, and in the Randazzo and Castiglione di Sicilia territory.
. Mt. Etna would therefore be home to the Nerello Mascalese for centuries, with its volcanic terrain at the limits of the impossible, between the 350 and 1100 meters above sea level that provide the best soil and climate conditions for its cultivation. In 1968, the Nerello Mascalese became the base for the DOC Etna Red denomination, of which it is 80%, whereas the remaining 20% is made up of the Nerello Cappuccio variety. The Nerello Mascalese was therefore definitively consecrated in the international wine production world as a local variety and, in some cases, strictly from Etna.
Another characteristic element is its delayed ripening, which usually takes place between the second and third week of October. The grapes are fermented on the skins with a long maceration of the skins that allows the creation of important red wines for laying down. The Nerello Mascalese provides a pale colored wine, since it is completely free of acylated anthocyanins.
The alcohol content, like the structure, the acidity and the complexity, is significant. As for the aroma, the Nerello Mascalese is characterized by a complex variety of scents that range from red fruits with notes typical of Moschato (terpenic), to tobacco notes.
IL NERELLO CAPPUCCIO
The Nerello Cappuccio, or Nerello Mantellato, owes its name to the rather bizarre shape of its leaves which, like a cape, seem to envelop its bunches as if to protect them from Etna's mystical foul weather.
Although we have no documents that confirm its exact origin, in all likelihood, this variety dates back several centuries in the Catania plains.
This variety, which was at risk of extinction, was saved by courageous wine-growers who decided to resume cultivating it in the ancient areas located between 350 and 900 meters above sea level on the eastern side of the volcano, Mt. Etna. The variety boasts fairly constant production on average, with budbreak usually in March, leading to ripening and harvesting in the second half of October.
As for the aroma, the Nerello Cappuccio has more delicate and sinuous notes like wood extract and sparks of vanilla, that enhance the D.O.C. Etna Red on the palate and which can be clearly perceived if tasted in separate fermentation. The Nerello Cappuccio constitutes 20% of the D.O.C. Etna Red and produces superb red wines with typically strong characteristics. If you add the remaining percentage of Nerello Mascalese, you have excellent examples particularly suited for aging.
2014 DOC ETNA RED WINE
Produced at high altitude on the slopes of the volcano, Mt. Etna, with local Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes. This wine with a very complex aroma tells of an elegant and charming territory.
CARRICANTE
The Carricante is an ancient white variety that has always been grown on the slopes of the volcano, especially at the higher altitudes where the Nerello Mascalese sometimes struggles to ¬ripen fully. Its name comes from the Sicilian expression “u carricanti”, which emphasizes the abundant production of its plants, able to fill the grape carts. It is traditionally cultivated on volcanic sand soil with a high mineral content. Its selected terroir is the splendid landscape on the east side of Mt. Etna, which faces the sea.
The cool climate and the significant temperature range between day and night contribute to giving the grapes intense aromas and flavors. The Carricante is a full-bodied variety, generally with rather abundant production, that should be contained with severe pruning and control of the number of buds in order to obtain a quality grape with a high aromatic concentration. This variety enters the constitution of the Etna White selection.
The Carricante produces scarcely colored wines that do not have a very high alcohol content. The colors in separate fermentation are therefore soft and greenish, with delicate scents of orange blossoms and fresh notes of white fruit, apples, citrus and nuances of anise. Balanced, with a wonderful flavor and a typical vigor that has an acid taste that gives is structure and longevity. These characteristics allow passage to barrels and long aging periods.
CATARRATTO
A vine that has been indigenous of Sicily since ancient times. Farmed all over the island of Sicily and on Etna where it contributes to the constitution of the Etna white wine in a maximum quantity of 40%. In separate fermentation, it has a straw yellow color that tends toward gold. The profile on the nose is fruity and slightly floral, with scents of honeysuckle and citrus fruits, lemon in particular, on a background of aromatic herbs.
DOC ETNA WHITE WINE
Produced at high altitude on the slopes of the volcano, Mt. Etna, with local Carricante and Catarratto grapes. The lava soil gives the grapes minerality and the climate with its vast temperature range gives the wine a refined aroma and fresh taste.
OIL
According to mythology, the first Italian region to receive the sacred tree from Greece was Sicily, thanks to Aristaeus, son of Apollo, who introduced farming and taught the local populations how to get oil from olives. The introduction of the olive in the eastern area of Sicily occurred around the second millennium BC by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. In this area, the presence of the volcano, Mt. Etna, with its eruptive events, fed the legend of this culture: the Cyclops Polyphemus, the personification of Etna with his fiery eye, was blinded by Ulysses with a trunk of green olive wood.
Olives replaced citrus fruits at around 200-300 meters above sea level and continued as far up as 1000 meters. The traditional terracing and the dry stonewalls made of lava rock made an unmistakable mark on the landscape of the territory surrounding the volcano, Mt. Etna. In this area, farming is widespread of the olive the yields DOP Mount Etna extra virgin olive oil «Nocellara Etnea» present in no less than 65% of the olive groves. There are several varieties in the area that can compete, the «Moresca», the «Tonda Iblea», the «Ogliarola Messinese», the «Biancolilla», the «Brandofino» and the «Olivo di Castiglione», in varying percentages up to a maximum of 35%.
NOCELLARA ETNEA
Widespread mainly on the Catania and Messina sides of Mt. Etna. It can also be found in the provinces of Enna, Syracuse and Ragusa. It is known by several synonyms, the most significant of which are “Verdese” in the Ragusa area, “Zaituna” and “Marmorigna” in the Catania area. It is a high vigor plant with assurgent growth, high production and high alternation. The drupes have thick pulp, medium consistency and high quality, with a pulp/pit ratio of 6.
The fruit can exceed 6 grams and is elliptical in shape with a pointed apex. They are primarily used to produce table olives, but also for oil. The oil yield is good and can reach 18-20%. From an organoleptic standpoint, it produces oils with medium intense fruity aroma, medium bitterness and spiciness, sometimes intense. It usually has sensations of thistle fruit or artichoke and sometimes of almonds or herbs.
NOCELLARA DELL'ETNA
DOP Mount Etna is obtained by hand harvesting the olives and cold pressing them and it is produced on the slopes of the volcano, at 700 m above sea level. It has a golden-yellow color with green reflections. The odor is slightly fruity. The taste is herbaceous and fresh with hints of artichoke, green tomato, sometimes with notes of fresh almonds with a low acid content, flavorful and fragrant.

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