NATIVE ETNA WINEGROWERS
Alberello Etneo: ethics, aesthetics and excellence.
On Mt. Etna we can define three large elective areas for the grape-growing and winemaking. The first is that between 400 and 900 m above sea level along the Eastern slopes, the second is located between 500 and 800 meters above sea level along the Northern slopes, and the third between 600 and 1000 m above sea level on the Southern side of the volcano.
Specific aspects of this terroir
On Mt. Etna, there are substantial climatic differences, not only compared to the rest of Sicily, but also between one area and another of the Volcano. This is due to the shape of the mountain on a truncated cone surface and its proximity to the sea.
Consequently, this area is defined by a high environmental and microclimatic variability, within a few kilometres you can encounter naturalistic and agricultural landscapes ranging from sub-tropical to alpine.
The environmental variability is also conditioned by the unique position of Etna: altitude and exposure deeply influence the slopes, generating unique microclimates for grape growing. The various lava flows, over the centuries, have created soils characterized by a strong paedogenetic variability: this diversity in the soil is often more frequent vertically than horizontally. The paedo-climate, exposure, altitude, and volcanic soil of Mt. Etna determine considerable differences in wine production, even within the same contrada (district), that can be identified in wine produced.
In contrada Caselle, Milo 750 a.s.l. we grow the white grape varieties Carricante and Minnella. The vineyard is located, as the crow flies, 10 km from the crater and 8 km from the Ionian Sea.
In contrada Porcarìa (Feudo di Mezzo) 550 a.s.l., the Passopisciaro fraction of Castiglione di Sicilia, we grow the red grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Granache. 15 km from the crater and 20 km from the sea.
In Contrada NAVE, Bronte, in a small parcel of vineyard at 1300 m a.s.l, we grow Granache, Minella nera, Greganico, Minella Bianca and other unknown varieties. 10 km from the crater and 26 km from the sea.
Our winery is an old Palmento. On Mt. Etna, the Palmento had been used for winemaking for hundreds of years, until up to 30 years ago. “The Palmento is for Etna wines what the amphora for Georgian wines”. A true wine from Mt. Etna must first and foremost be produced in the Palmento. The Palmento does not need electricity or other external energy to work, only the natural force of gravity, human strength and our ingenuity. In the cellar to produce our wines we absolutely DO NOT use plastic containers or plastic resins or plastic fibres. Some of our containers are in Etna lava stone, others in wood and others in steel, the best type beinng neutral: INOX 316.
The Cellar and The Barrel Room
In the construction of new rooms of the cellar, we only used Etna lava stone and terracotta bricks worked and handmade by local workers. In our barrel room, there is the bare lava stone handmade by ourselves. The barrels are made of: oak, acacia and chestnut. The iron furnishings are forged by hand. We personally know all the artisans who collaborated to create our cellar.