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Benanti Rovittello 2014

Benanti Rovittello 2014

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"Deep vivid red. Brooding aromas and flavors hint at pencil shavings, red currant jelly, red cherry nectar, yellow flowers, coffee and herbs. Dense and tactile but also very fruity in the mouth, expressing a noteworthy steely quality. In fact, much more steely than the 2014 Serra della Contessa, and so less immediately juicy/fruity but rather more taut and classically austere at this present time of development. Ought to age splendidly. From very old vines grown at 750 meters above sea level on the northern slopes of Etna. Drinking window: 2021-2029. 95+ points

Ever since they took the helm of the winery in 2012, with many new labels launched and new vineyard acquisitions and sales, siblings Salvino and Alberto Benanti have been leading the estate into a new dimension, one that they like to characterize as an “evolution of continuity,” assisted by historical collaborators such as their in-house winemaker Enzo Calì (full-time at Benanti since 2004) and their commercial director Agatino Failla (with them since 2011). The recent new bottlings continue in the same vein as what has been done at the estate since its beginning back in 1990, when they started bottling wines clearly linked to a specific terroir; for example, the Rovittello Etna Rosso from the volcano’s northern slope in the commune of Castiglione di Sicilia, and even the Nerello Cappuccio monovariety bottling, made with grapes picked on Etna’s southwestern flank in the territory of Santa Maria di Licodia. The Benantis are now aiming to produce as many as six different contrada wines. In 2019, they launched the first two, the Etna Bianco Contrada Cavaliere and the Etna Rosso Contrada Cavaliere."

Ian D'Agata, Vinous (08/19)

Crusaders, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, the Mafia.....These are just some of the invaders who have left their mark on Sicily, an important fact which goes some of the way to explain the background to the delicious wines now emerging from the 23 DOCs and 1 DOCG which make up its wine map. Many historians have commented that Sicily is more akin to a continent in its own right rather than a mere province of Italy and it is this heritage more than anything which gives these wines their vibrancy and complexity, together with the infinite variation of soil type, especially on the slopes of Mt Etna itself.

Sicily has always produced buckets of undistinguished wine - encouraged latterly by EU subsidies. More recently though, there has a been an explosion of top quality wine with many producers in the Etna DOC at the forefront of this. This is due in large measure to the tireless work of Diego Planeta whose wines many of you will already have enjoyed. As well as starting his own eponymous winery in 1995, he was also responsible for persuading Settesoli (the largest producer of bulk wine in Sicily) to expand the range of native grape varieties they were willing to cultivate commercially. The workhorse (and rather bland) and most widely planted variety in most of Sicily has long been Cataratto but now there are more dynamic wines made from Frappato, Nero d'Avola, Nerelli Mascalese and Capuccio, and Carricante - to name but a few.


Benanti, whose vineyards lie predominantly on the slopes of Mt Etna at Viagrande in Catania, was founded at the end of the 19th century. The Etna DOC was established in 1968 but the modern era for this estate really starts in 1988 when Dr Giuseppe Benanti completed a study of soil types with a view to matching the grape variety and its clones to specific soil types. This is no mean feat as Sicily has such fabulous diversity. Since then, this producer has gone from strength to strength, with a range encompassing wines made from single native varietals to wines such as Majora, the top wine, made from a blend of Nero d'Avola, Syrah, Tannat and Petit Verdot.