The Vine Details:
We can't tell you what living next to an active volcano for hundreds of years does to the human psyche, but we can tell you its a boon for the soil. We'll be tasting through wines of Sicily with Tim from Hangtime Wholesale Wine Company.
Tim will be pouring wines from three fantastic Sicilian producers: Gulfi, Pianogrillo, and I Custodi. All of these producers focus on natural wine making, and practice organic methods.
Some 77 kilometers west of the ancient city of Syracuse is where you'll find Pianogrillo, a fully organic certified producer whose wines will make up the majority of the tasting quartet. We'll be pouring their fresh Grillo and Curva Minore.
Grillo was once exclusively used for the production of Marsala, and is a crossing of the Catarratto and Moscato di Alessandria grapes that almost died out in the 1960s. Pianogrillo's Grillo has a superb salinity to it, making it a perfect accompaniment to your next dinner.
Curva Minore is a representative blend of Sicily's two most famous red varietals outside of Etna, Frappato and Nero d'Avola Notes of violet on the nose, and extremely well integrated tannins make this wine stand out, especially given Nero D'Avola's reputation for immensely dark fruit and notes of tobacco and pitch.
Just some 4 kilometers up the road from Pianogrillo is where we find Gulfi, and their Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a 100% Nero D"Avola vinified in a style similar to rosé. We think that Nero d'Avola is a fascinating grape, and when done well, it's up there with some of our favorite Italian varietals.
And then there is I Custodi's Ante (Enta spelled backwards) a white blend made up of varietals cultivated from the slopes of Etna itself. Largely Carricante, this Etna Bianco is bracing, with an elegant structure that underlies the richness of the volcanic soil.
Fitting of the largest island in the Mediterranean, we've opted for a tasting that exemplifies that island culture, even if not everything comes from Sicily directly. We're featuring Berkswell, a raw sheep's milk cheese that was drained in colanders, giving it a distinct UFO shape. Fragrant of richly roasted nuts, we feel this works perfectly with the Duck Rillettes from Rougie, and Castelvetrano Olives, which are indeed from Castelvetrano, Sicily. There will be a couple of other surprises, as always.