Santa Maria La Nave 2016 Etna Rosso 'Calmarossa'

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Made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio at an elevation of 800 metres on the southern slopes of Etna. In our opinion Santa Maria La Nave is making the best wines in this volcanic region. The red is powerful, but not heavy, spicy, earthy, with notes of black truffles.

Italy | Sicily | Etna | Santa Maria La Nave | 85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Cappuccio | ABV 14% | Drink 2021 - 2027

The Region



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.

The Producer

Santa Maria La Nave

Santa Maria La Nave

The history of Santa Maria La Nave dates back to 1954 when the grandfather of the current owner, Sonia Spadaro Mulone, moved to Etna from Regalbuto to find work in the volcanic vineyards of the region. Sonia and her husband Riccardo continue the excellent work of her former generations and is hand crafting some of Etna's most exciting wines.

The vineyard is based on some old vines of native Etna varieties, Grecanico Dorato and Nerello Mascalese, the former no longer being permitted for the DOC. The white varieties are planted at 1,100 metres many of which are ungrafted and of course, on pure volcanic lava flow soils. The red from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio is grown at around 800 metres

We are utterly smitten with Sonia's wines. So much so that I would go out on a limb and say these these are Etna's best wines. The white tastes like it is wired in to the national grid for its scintillating electricity, with the red being a burly, old-viney, powerhouse, but with such control and purity it neither feels heavy nor overblown.

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