Why is this Wine so Yummy?
Situated on the North slope of Mount Etna at Passopisciaro, an area where viticulture goes back several thousand years. Graci’s vineyards are to an altitude of between 600 and 1,000 metres above sea level. Planting density ranges between 6,000 and 10,000 vines per hectare. Some of the vines are on their own roots, that is to say are ungrafted.
The significant variations between one season and another and between one vineyard and another are the treasures of our territory.
This variability, which Nerello Mascalese manages to interpret in an astonishing and chameleon-like manner, never ceases to amaze and thrill us. It stimulates us all the more to make wines which are true to and expressive of their real nature.
We only cultivate traditional varieties indigenous to Mount Etna and aim to respect local traditions as well as the distinct characters of each vintage.
The land decides, not us. We believe that only by listening carefully and responding to the expressions of Nature in our territory ca be great wines be born. Great because true.
What’s the Etna style?
Like any region there’s a constant evolution. Just as with the reds of Etna, makers are playing with different techniques in making whites. The primary varieties are Carricante with a splash of Cattarratto often in the mix. We see styles from lively racy numbers that are very Chablis like to wild wines like the very rare Pietrodolce Sant’Andrea that spends 6 months on skins!
It’s an exciting time for the whites of Etna and we’re all going to have plenty of fun watching the styles evolve.
It’s interesting that while they are undergoing rapid evolution they still remain composed. Often not the case. Think 1980’s Aussie Chardonnay!
Where in the world are they made?
I thought I’d share these three maps to help you get your head around Etna and it’s place in Sicily. The first map gives you the big picture. The second highlights the general area planted on Etna, mostly South to South-East facing. The third shows most, but, not all of the Contrada (single vineyards) and their relative elevations.
The 2017 Vintage
Reports are suggesting a tough season with fluctuating weather conditions. Calling what I’ve seen in glass so far I think we’re in for some fun personality filled wines.
Tips for Drinking these Wines
🌡Temp: 12-14°C. We tend to drink whites an edge cool. If they end up too cold allow them to warm a little and you will experience greater generosity of flavour and aroma. Texture can be harder at to cooler temp too.
🍷Decanting: The élévage is excellent the wines are well and truly through puberty and into adulthood. Decanting is not essential. Perfect to hoover straight from the bottle.
⏳Time: I love trying good wines stand alone, with food, and, often the next day. It gives them the chance to shine and ensures you don’t miss a good wine through impatience or fail to bring out it’s best by not marrying them to food. Make sure you leave a splash in the bottle to try it 24 hours later, you’ll be rewarded for the experience, particularly when these wines are young.
🕯Cellaring: The wine is drinking so beautifully now it will be hard to hold off! I’ve yet to taste any very old Etna whites. I can see these drinking well over 3-5 years depending on winemaking technique. More experience required here!