San Michele di Ganzaria, Sicilia

Fillipo Rizzo had one of those trajectories into winemaking that is now ubiquitous in the industry. After owning and running a small restaurant in Belgium where he was ahead of the curve slinging wines made naturally, he made the move back to Sicily, back to the land, and the cultivation of grapes. Fillipo’s winemaking tutelage came in the form of several vintages working for Frank Cornellison the man responsible for the notoriety behind Susucaru, and to a lesser extent the new found fascination with wines from Etna.

However, Lamoresca sits on southerly edge of the island set back, inland, arid and secluded but exposed on all sides for 50km. This part of southern Sicily on the Catania side is better known for wheat and the agriculture of prickly pears than it is wine grapes. It’s a place Fillipo knows well though. A native returned, convinced that wine growing was not only possible but promising.

Across the 5 hectares the vines work hard for sustenance in a mix of clay and sandstone but benefit from the cool temperature fluctuation between day and night. Vineyard work is considered, and Fillipo is often sited as going beyond any organic labeling or certification. He picks at optimum ripeness, pursuant and accepting of low yields and delivering wines of elegance, minerality and balance. Interestingly, people often make the connection between the wines of Frank Cornellison and Fillipos. Whilst Fillipo certainly trained with Frank on many vintages, the wines are distinctly different in character and set apart from their Etna counterpart. It’s important to distinguish between the two areas as the wines in the South are often in the shadow of the Volcano, both figuratively and literally, when really, these wines speak of the Mediterranean, of the interior and of the south.