Feudo Montoni enjoys a long history in the Valledolmo region of central-western Sicily. Their cellars are housed in the Baglio (a typical Sicilian building) built by the noble Aragonese family in 1469. The property was purchased by the current owner and winemaker Fabio Sireci’s grandfather Rosario in the late 1800s. Nero d’Avola, Perricone and Catarratto were amongst the original vines planted all those years ago, and massale selection was employed by Fabio’s father, Elio, in the 1960s to plant further vineyards that exist to this day. The old-vine material at Feudo Montoni has proven to be an invaluable resource, and many other Sicilian producers have sought out cuttings from these venerable old vines.
While Nero d’Avola grows practically across the whole of Sicily, the resultant wines vary dramatically based on where it is planted. There is a level of refinement and purity coupled with vibrant aromatics in the wines of Feudo Montoni, due in no small part to the high altitudes of 500–600 metres. These wines couldn’t be further from the riper, broader styles synonymous with the low-lying coastal vineyards of Sicily. The same distinction can be seen in both the Catarratto and Grillo, with wonderful purity and brightness.
Organic farming is the order of the day at Feudo Montoni. Cover crops, such as fava, peas and honeysuckle, are rotated through the vineyards, ensuring that biodiversity is maintained. Fertilisers are limited to organic manure and mulched vine prunings, allowing the vines to find their natural balance amongst the native herbs and flowers. This philosophy follows through to the winery, where renewable energy sources and lightweight bottles are employed to minimise their footprint on the earth.
The light touch follows through to the cellar, where hand-picked grapes are processed within an hour of harvest. Fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled concrete with indigenous yeasts, and malolactic occurs spontaneously. In the case of the ‘Lagnusa’ Nero d’Avola, ageing is primarily in concrete, with a brief passage in neutral oak.