From 1/14 MEININGER’S WBI. REGIONAL ANALYSIS.
SICILY’S RAPID EXPANSION
As Sicily establishes itself in the international wine trade, quality is rising, indigenous varieties are fl ourishing, and more people are moving in. But there are challenges to overcome, including the cost of production and logistics, says Michèle Shah.
“(…) Nerello Mascalese can be found on the unique volcanic slopes of Etna. Its terraced vineyards of ancient bush-trained vines produce wines of depth and fi nesse characterised by minerality and elegance. Top bottlings of Etna Rosso DOC are made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, while Etna Bianco DOC is made predominantly withCarricante grapes. The region’s main concern today is that of curtailing production to maintain its quality status and the ‘uniqueness’ it enjoys. From a mere handful of producers some 10 years ago, there are over 70 estates bottling and labelling wines today. Every Sicilian producer with a name wants a slice of Etna, which means Etna could lose some of its uniqueness.
Yet Etna wines are not for the mass-market and it is emerging linerie such as Tenuta di Fessina, a 70,000-bottle production established in 2007 in the commune of Castiglione di Sicilia at an altitude of 670 metres, owned by Tuscan producer Silvia Maestrelli and Piemonte-born agronomist Federico Curtaz that will show the way. Their philosophy, according to Maestrelli, is to seek a genuine expression of terroir by intense manual labour, keeping yields low and by respecting nature”.