Hot New Wines from Italy’s Deep South
Where the Calabrian toe of Italy’s boot kicks Sicily into the Med lies a fascinating region full of mysterious traditions, fierce passions and plenty of soul. Far from the well-heeled north, this region is all about long hot summers, even longer lunches and a solid connection to the land.
Known for its rich and varied cuisine, the region is less celebrated for its wines. But there are some truly exceptional examples if you’re prepared to look. You’ve probably never heard of some of the grape varieties – but that’s all part of the fun! Indigenous grapes like Gaglioppo, Greco, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante offer up a completely different flavour profile for adventurous wine drinkers. And once you get started, you’ll be hooked.
These new wines we’ve chosen from Sicily and Calabria are defined by their freshness and acidity, which stems from their coastal and high-altitude locations – crucial in this sun-baked region. They are a great demonstration that Italy can offer superb value for those happy to move away from the better-known regions and dare to explore…
Wines from Mount Etna are big news right now and Tornatore is one of the largest, most respected estates in the area. With 46 hectares it is responsible for 10% of the DOC’s production, but is still very much a family business, with the third generation of the same family now in charge of production.
The focus is on native grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nero Cappuccio, Carricante and Catarratto, while their winemaking style is more modern in its approach, with lower alcohols and more emphasis on fruit.
Etna Bianco 2015
This wine is bright, fresh and zesty with an extraordinary mineral complexity. Pleasant hints of grapefruit, white peach and herbs are backed up with a mouth-watering acidity that leads only too easily to a second glass…
Etna Rosso 2014
With 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappucio, it’s bright cherry-red in the glass. On the palate, Morello and black cherries blend with red summer fruits. Volcanic soils combined with altitude ensure the wine has a delightful acidity, minerality and balance.
The Scala family have been grape farmers since the 17th century, and artisanal winemakers since 1949. Today Luigi Scala is the latest in this long line to carry on the family tradition. They have just 16 hectares of vineyards, where they produce wines from Ciro DOC, from red and white indigenous varieties.
What makes Scala special in Calabria is their elegance and naturally lower alcohol content. The Rosso is 13% ABV and the Bianco a refreshing 11%.
Ciro DOC Rosso Classico Superiore 2012
This 100% Gaglioppo is revelatory. It’s packaging hails from the 1970s in striking red, white and black coupled with a unique typeface. On tasting the wine you are struck by its powerful tannic structure, which is balanced by soft aromatics and herbal notes.
Explore this hidden corner of Italy – contact us for more information or to try any of these wines.