Al-Cantàra, 'Occhi di Ciumi', Etna, Sicily 2018
A beautifully fresh wine with a core of minerality shining through the spicy flavour, long and saline on the finish.
Producer Note - From the slopes of Mount Etna, one of the most distinctive and coveted wine regions in Europe, Al-Cantàra's wines reflect the soul of the people and the land. Al-Cantàra takes its name from the river which flows through the municipality of Randazzo where the winery and the vineyards are located. The 15 hectare vineyard is located at 620 metres above sea level. All the operations related to the vineyard are carried out with total respect for the environment. Al Cantàra also means 'bridge' in Arabic which emphasises the link with the Sicilian terroir and symbolises the union between wine, art and poetry. Owner Pucci Giuffrida is a devotee of fine poetry and for this reason all of the names of the wines are inspired by the poems by Sicilian authors.
Vintage - A cold start to the year was followed by an intensely warm spring, which accelerated budding. Cooler weather followed during May, June and July, which along with some downpours contributed to a reduced yield of 20%. Mild weather from August through to October allowed for a gradual and late ripening which produced white and rosé wines with great aromatic complexity and reds with good phenolic ripeness, body and balancing freshness. \
Vineyard - The grapes are grown in a valley between the volcano and the Nebrodi Mountains, at approximately 620 metres above sea level. At this elevation, warm days and cool nights encourage a long ripening period concentrating the flavours in the grapes while retaining balancing acidity. The vines are grown in ash coloured volcanic soils, which are rich in minerals and fossils. The soil is permeable to air and water and is rich in pumice stone and microelements, which allow the plants to produce a complex aromatic profile. The espalier-trained vines are spur pruned. The 10 to 50 year old vines are cultivated following organic and biodynamic principles and the vineyard is in conversion to organic status. The organic treatments of sulphur and copper treatments are only used when powdery or downy mildew seriously affect the vineyard. The vine moth is combatted by the use of natural pheromones, which generates confusion in the moth and prevents it from attacking the fruit. The grapes were hand-harvested during the cooler early hours of the day.
Winemaking - The wine was made reductively, without any contact with oxygen thus reducing the use of sulphur. The grapes were gently crushed without being destemmed and the must was clarified by sedimentation for 36 to 48 hours. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 12 to 18°C lasting for 15 days. The wine was racked twice to remove the gross lees, before being transferred to stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged on its fine lees which imparted further texture and complexity for between five and nine months. The wine was made without the influence of oak, in order to express the purity of the native Carricante variety and the volcanic terroir. Bottle aged for a further year.
Tasting Note - A beautifully fresh wine with tropical notes and a core of minerality shining through the spicy flavour, long and saline on the finish.
Grape Carricante 88%, Grecanico 12%
Winemaker: Salvo Rizzuto
Region: Sicily Sub region: Etna Country: Italy
Dry/Sweet value: 1 (1 is dry, 7 is very sweet)
Residual Sugar: 2
Contains Sulphites: Yes
Closure: Other Synthetic