Many generations of Sicilians have known that Mount Etna’s greatest white wine grape reached its absolute zenith in a very specific location high on the cooler eastern slopes of the volcano. This understanding led to the designation of Carricante wines from the Caselle district, surrounding the town of Milo, as the exclusive source of Etna Bianco Superiore. But as great as the wines are, in recent times only a handful of acres of Carricante remained. In order to remedy this situation, we set out with Salvo Foti to find a perfect location to revitalize a Carricante vineyard in the “sweet spot” for this grape which is “above the church” in the town of Milo. Together with Salvo, we have planted our six acre site with his best selections of Carricante. While we wait for these vines to mature, we have been able to purchase grapes from one of the oldest vineyards in Milo. These ancient vines are estimated to be 80 years old and are carefully tended by the town’s mayor, Alfio Cosentino.
Nerello Mascalese is grown in many parts of Mount Etna but it is well understood that the best examples of this great red grape come from the northern slope of the volcano between 2,000 and 3,000 feet of elevation. While searching in this prime area above the tiny village of Montelaguardia, we stumbled upon a neglected vineyard of 100 year old grapevines. These centenarians were in dire need of attention and we have carefully nurtured them back to health. Meanwhile Salvo has planted additional blocks of his finest selection of Nerello Mascalese with a few vines of Nerello Capuccio sprinkled in.