Idda 2019 Sicilia Bianco Carricante
The debut release of white from Alberto Graci and Angelo Gaja's joint venture in Etna, and it is a cracker. Mineral, rich, fragrant, with fragrant notes of grapefruit, white currants. A weighty palate of fruit, but in a restrained, taut style
Sicily is on a roll. It is a vast vineyard, 2nd largest after Veneto, of course producing wines at all quality levels, but a surprisingly high average. During the 1990s it was all about international varieties, but ever since, the Island has learned to celebrate its native varieties and now more than ever there are great reasons to look here for top quality wines. There are many DOCs, but the vast majority of wine is produced at IGT level. Producers have a little more freedom to experiment with varieties and winemaking techniques, without being hampered by local DOC laws, in the same way that Languedoc in France has done. Because of this, we tend to think of Sicily as the 'New World' of Italy.
The story begins with Nero d'Avola: the most widely planted of the black varieties here. The average quality is high, but it only gets so good. If you want to seek wines of greater distinction and delicacy, then look towards Etna. This smoking volcano is home to some of Italy's most exciting wines, and is progressing at such a break-neck pace, we can hardly keep up. This year sees the release of the first wines from Idda, a collaboration between Gaja of Piedmont and Alberto Graci, a native of the island and wine producer in Etna. We have also been won over by the delights of the whites of this DOC, most notably the wines of Santa Maria La Nave, who are making two extraordinary wines.
Idda by Graci & Gaja
This is a project that has anticipated for many years, being the subject of much excitement in the Italian wine scene. Etna wine producer Alberto Graci has teamed up with Barbaresco legend Angelo Gaja to create Idda. The first release is now out and it is their 2017 Red which will be followed by their 2018 White. The name is taken from the Sicilian dialect for 'she', a term of endearment that the locals use to refer to Mt Etna. This is Gaja's first joint venture and if Etna weren't already on the radar of fine wine lovers, it certainly will be now. We are incredibly excited to have a small allocation of this fantastic wine
The major factors that influence how a wine tastes are its grape variety, climate and the human factors of winemaking and viticulture, but it all begins with the soil, the dirt from which the vine is nourished. Varying soil types, their fertility, water retain capacity and mineral content all play a part in the wine's quality and style.
The world of wine is dotted with little pockets of volcanic regions, whether active or long extinct, and these soils impart their own distinctive character in the resulting wines. Generally speaking, volcanic regions are low in fertility, which is great for grapevines as this encourages the vine to produce sweeter and richer berries. The wines from these regions certainly do echo the drama of volcanoes and many wine drinkers seek out the wines for their distinctive minerality, and crisp acidity.
For further reading, we thoroughly recommend John Szabo's comprehensive book on the topic, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power.