Etna rightly steals the show when discussing wines and terroir from Sicily. It’s active volcano sitting proudly and stoically in the north east of the Island, a compass. It’s on this northeast facing slope at 800m elevation where Federica and Cesare call home. Neither come from winemaking backgrounds, choosing to change paths as so many vignerons seem to do in 2005. Federica choosing to leave one of the more obscure professions I’ve heard someone leave for winemaking, life as an archery instructor and now also artist for the aziendas labels. Cesare as a pilot.
To date the vineyards cover a 5 hectare plot. Mostly nerello mascalese, nerello cappucio and carricante, This altitude is the limit to which the coastal loving nerellos can thrive and ripen. In addition to 120 yo vines there’s also plenty of fruit, olive and walnut trees. The walnut trees producing the green walnuts that help to produce their very singular Nocino.
Biodivesity is key with the inclusion of animals and the treatment of the vineyards as though it were simply an extended garden. With love, care and attention. Eschewing any new techniques and preferring ancient methods of production, vinification takes place in the old palmento (a stone vat used for crushing grapes by foot) with a hand basket press for long slow macerations. To say that Masseria del Pino is an idyll of life on a volcano is to do it an injustice. This is the bucolic life many of us long for, the tending of vine and fruit, the learning and honing of a craft. The holistic and symbiotic life in nature. We don't have that, as our choices are different, but we are given a window onto that life through these wines. Which are remarkably pure in the delivery of that story.