Sicily’s legendary – but very real – volcano, Etna obviously has remarkable emotional pull on its visitors. Many of the practitioners around its slopes are wine people lured by tales of amazing terrain and unexpectedly important wines, some of whom are so captivated and driven they uproot, sometimes from far away, to immerse in this remarkable terroir.
Palermo architect Nino Bevilacqua, didn’t relocate quite as far as some, but for nearly a decade he’s devoted himself to renovation, replanting and refurbishment of the old vines, their terraces and the buildings he bought in diverse parcels in the highly prized district of Randazzo, to draw together his beautiful amphitheatre-like Estate. It’s already accepted wisdom that the best Etnas are those wines that at the very least, reflect their locales, as the innate, bewitching personalities of Etna wine is a pretty good head start.
Nino asked gifted oenologist Renzo Cottarella to supervise aspects of viticulture and winemaking to achieve just this with a low intervention approach. With vineyards sitting at high altitude between 650 and 900 metres the two Nerello Mascalese reds, Etna Rosso Doc ‘Carusu’ (with 20% Nerello Cappuccio) and ‘Cirneco’ are textbook Etna, with their waves and layers of spice, cherry skin, flowers, minerality and trademark clarity while still retaining a wonderful core of fruit. The brilliantly fascinating ‘Ciuri’ is one of a very few examples of wine some say is an even better use of the Mascalese; an intriguing, nuanced minerally and tropical-fruited but with crisp acidity…dry white! Crazy? Brilliant? Fascinating.