Monday, April 15, 2013

Sicilia at Vinitaly

We were in Verona last week from April 7-10 for Vinitaly, Italy’s largest annual wine fair.  We visited the Sicilia pavilion to speak with winegrowers and to sample a few of Sicily’s latest offerings.  In addition to presenting our book at the start of week to an enthusiastic audience of Sicilian wine producers and journalists, we attended a horizontal tasting of sixteen Etna red wines from the 2010 vintage.  The wines showed the elegance and purity of Nerello Mascalese on Mount Etna.  We were delighted to be at this tasting because it included the debut of the Profumo di Vulcano (“Perfume of the Volcano”) wine of Federico Graziani.  In early October 2010 we had the pleasure of sharing the day of harvest (vendemmia) with Federico in his small vineyard on Etna between the comunes of Passopisciaro and Castiglione di Sicilia.  The vineyard workers of Salvo Foti’s I Vigneri, who had tended these vines since 2008, hand-harvested the ripe Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, along with some Alicante and a mix of other local red varieties called Francisi and the historic white varieties Minnella and Caricante.  As a sommelier and wine writer, Federico was moved by the experience of birthing his very own wine.  At the end of the afternoon, Federico placed a precious bunch of Nerello Mascalese in his day bag for the flight back to Milan to share with his family and friends that very night.  Last week Federico presented his wine at the Vinitaly tasting with eloquence and humility.  It is a pure and ripe expression of high elevation Nerello Mascalese from the northeast slopes of Etna.   Auguri, Federico!


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