2020 Graci Etna Bianco
Region: Mt Etna, Sicily, Italy
Viticulture: Certified Organic
Winemaker Alberto Graci
Established Date: 2004
A gorgeous white blend of 70% Carricante and 30% Cattaratto with killer minierality from the dark volcanic soil. Intervention of any kind is extremely limited, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. They do not use herbicides in order to preserve the unique balance and vital energy of the soil. They do not use barriques, but only the big, upright, wooden casks known as tini and large, well-used wood barrels. Their sole objective is to reflect the personalities of their vineyards and the sublime differences between each and every harvest.
Sommelier’s Recommendation I’m a huge fan of wines from Sicily. I find the volcanic soils give the white wines an amazing minerality, comparable to that of Chablis. The wine has an interesting almond note on the nose, a delicate touch of grapefruit in the background and amazing crunchy texture.
Alberto Graci’s grandfather used to make wine in Sicily, from vineyards in the centre of the island. As with many at the time, the approach was to produce quantity, not quality. Graci, however, studied in Rome and then went on to work as an investment banker in Milan. His grandfather’s death changed things. ‘I came back home,’ he says, ‘and sold my grandfather’s land, and bought vineyards on Etna.’ So he’s returned to his Sicilian roots, but moved to a part of the island where there’s a real buzz at the moment.
‘Etna is a special place,’ says Graci. He cites three reasons. First, it has the sun of Sicily but a climate moderated by altitude. Second, it has volcanic soils. Third, it has old ungrafted vineyards.
Alberto Graci’s main property is in Passopisciaro, in the northeast part of Etna at an altitude between 600 and 660 metres. ‘I want to use the indigenous grape varieties to express my terroirs,’ says Graci. He farms 15 hectares are Nerello Mascalese (Etna’s top red grape), 1.5 hectares Carricante and 1 hectare Catarratto. Many of the vines are still on original rootstock, ungrafted, having never been affected by the phylloxera scourge thanks to the unique nature of the volcanic soils.
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