Comes from the Etna estate, and includes a very tiny but important percentage of riesling. On the nose it had a touch of apricot kernel and green olive over the vibrant peach blossom, and on the palate was elegantly fresh, balanced and restrained with an interesting texture that I guessed came from the altitude (870 m above sea level) and the different soil composition.
La Segreta Rosso 2011
Made from fruit coming from the Menfi and Noto estates, and is a blend of 50% nero d’avola, 25% merlot, 20% syrah and 5% cabernet franc. Smelling the wine made me immediately think of Bolognese pasta sauce, with lovely ripe red tomatoes, dried basil, and very subtle roasted meat, combining with the plum and blackberry fruits, and on the palate was generous and soft in tannins with good focus and freshness of acids, a very uncomplicated but high-quality entry-level wine.
Cerasuolo di Vittorio DOCG 2010
A lovely light and brilliant vermillion colour, had very pure and intense aromas of florals and sweet red fruit, and on the palate combined delicate spicy red earth with vibrant yet light and fresh personality.
Santa Cecilia 2007
100% nero d’avola coming from the Noto sub-region, which is the reputed home of the variety. Quite dark and full in both colour and character, showing sweet plum and myrtle elements, great power yet elegance, freshness with generous and juicy tannins. The most appealing thing about this wine was the well-handled oak (none new), which better expressed the nuances of the variety and site.
The tasting room at the Planeta Vittoria estate
Brut Metodo Classico 2010
Made entirely from carricante in its indigenous area of Etna, fresh, fruit-driven with slightly spicy and peppery notes on the nose combining with the golden delicious and citrus notes, and on the palate was brisk with good persistent bead.
Made entirely from grecanico grown at the Ulmo estate. Quite viognier-like, with apricot blossom and citrus, freshness and viscosity with good approachable acids.
More closed and had a honey and seashell element on the nose, with salty complexity and elegance.
Cometa Fiano 2010
A very ripe tropical nose coupled with an oily salty citrus complexity, with fantastic texture and depth and great breadth of oak.
Made entirely from syrah grown on the Menfi estate. Bright fresh raspberry and cherry notes, full flavoured and vibrant with good acids and some slight fruit-sweetness.
100% nero d’avola from Ulmo, and whilst full and deep in dark fruit characters, also had very fresh spiciness and bright tannins and acids.
Passito di Noto 2010
Was surprisingly light and clean, with very minimal sweetness and viscosity from the drying of the berries and residual sugar.
Budburst starting at the Planeta Sambuca estate
To say that Sicily is diverse is an understatement. There is a very good reason why Sicily has the longest harvests in the world, often taking 90 days. For this reason it is impossible and pointless to think of Sicily as one region, which makes me question the logic of creating a new DOC for all of Sicily. In other large and diverse Italian regions like Tuscany, Piedmont and Puglia there are only IGT classifications for the entire region, no DOC which is usually an indicator of quality. A DOC just for Sicily would merely serve the large wineries to continue blending fruit from anywhere on the island, and charge higher prices for it. My suggestion would be to continue highlighting the sub-regional diversity of Sicily by creating a number of DOC and/or DOCG classifications for many of the best areas, to add to the small amount of DOC classifications, and only one DOCG (Cerasuolo di Vittoria). I have absolutely no issue with wineries using fruit from different parts of the region, much like they do in Tuscany or Veneto, but to imply that Sicily is one homogenous region is a fallacy and should be designated merely as IGT as it already is. One of the wineries that would possibly agree with me is one that I visited earlier in the week and returned to on my final day to one of their other estates. This winery is Planeta.
|The walls of the Planeta Ulmo Estate
Thus I have arrived to my eighth and final week in Italy (for now), and I am doing so in quite possibly the most diverse and misunderstood region in the country; Sicily. After spending the weekend in the chaotic city of pizza, Napoli, I boarded the overnight ferry to Palermo. The ride was uneventful, apart from some terrible service for overpriced pizza, but I am glad I paid a little extra for a berth in a cabin, as trying to sleep out in the halls would have been challenging. The ferry arrived an hour earlier than indicated, so when I disembarked in Palermo it was 7:00am and of course nothing was open, so I hit the road. My goal was Faro, a region very close to Messina, where I had an appointment with a very small producer. Unfortunately the address I had failed to get me to the winery and the contact number had similar problems. Therefore after several hours I was forced to abandon this plan with great disappointment, and head south through the Etna region where I unfortunately had no appointments. It was fascinating to see fossilised volcanic lava on the sides of the mountain, and hard to believe that vineyards are planted metres away from this lava. It was a shame that I didn’t visit any producers here, as it would have been interesting to learn more about the specific viticulture and interactions of the varieties with the environment. I look forward to the chance to taste some wines from this part of the island, and hopefully I will be able to visit again. From what I have seen so far, Sicily is most definitely different to mainland Italy, but then again, each region is different from each other. Like in other parts of Italy it is not so easy to get around; the roads are not in great condition, there is often traffic, rarely is there a direct route between places that you don’t have to pay for, and the landscape being hilly also makes for slow-going. But I made it to Vittoria, for three sensational visits on my second but first day in Sicily.
|Me at Mount Etna