Sicily


Showing 1–12 of 38 results

  • Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato 2020

    £31.49

    “What a pleasure it was to watch the dynamic Sicilian winemaker Arianna Occhipinti in Stanley Tucci’s CNN special “Searching for Italy,” featuring the food culture of Italy. Based in Vittoria, her vineyards see the Iblei mountains at the front and the Mediterranean Sea at the back. They are located 250 meters in elevation and because this area was underwater during the Miocene epoch, the soils range from clay, calcareous, tufo, gold sand, red sand and light sand. “The soils change every meter and so do the wines made from those sites,” says Arianna. In 2016, she started her Vino di Contrada series that sees three expressions of Frappato from three sites (PT, BB and FL). We can soon expect a new white wine to hit the market. Arianna is farming Grillo at 500 meters above sea level in the Contrada Santa Margherita in the town of Chiaramonte Gulfi. All of her wines are certified organic and made according to biodynamic methods.”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (11/21)

    In Stock

  • Benanti Contrada Cavaliere 2019

    £36.99

    “Benanti is one of the first successful wineries on Etna and is an important voice in the ongoing quest to map out viticultural subzones on the volcano, identifying the best and most historic vineyard sites. Today, Benanti makes 15 wines (six are reviewed here) and has completed its conversion over to organic farming. The estate is introducing a new wine, the Etna Bianco Superiore Contrada Rinazzo, that is part of its contrada-specific bottlings. It has released a second vintage of another new wine, the Etna Bianco Contrada Cavaliere. Seven years ago, the Benanti family made two important vineyard acquisitions, one in Rovittello (Contrada Dafara Galluzzo) and one in Milo (Contrada Rinazzo).”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (257)

    In Stock

  • Benanti Contrada Rinazzo Bianco 2019

    £44.99

    “Lemon zest joins sour green melon, tropical florals and sweet smoke as the 2019 Etna Bianco Contrada Superiore Rinazzo comes to life in the glass. This is deeply textural with medium-bodied weight, casting notes of papaya, young mango and minerals across a stimulating core of citrus-laced acidity. That said, the 2019 is also youthfully dense, tapering off with persistence but also a structural tension that promises many more good things to come. Like many of the best 2019 Carricante bottlings, the Rinazzo is enjoyable today, but it also has the ability to excel over medium-term cellaring. Drinking window: 2022-2029. 93 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

    In Stock

  • Benanti Etna Bianco 2021

    £23.99

    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.

    In Stock

  • Benanti Etna Rosso 2020

    £21.49

    Review to follow

    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.

    In Stock

  • Benanti Pietra Marina 2016

    £84.99

    “The 2016 Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina is more of a whisper than a shout, but it has a lot to say, as its bouquet blossoms with aromas of young peach and mango, evolving further to reveal hints of sage, sugar-dusted almonds and white smoke. Like a veil of pure silk, this slips across the palate, nearly weightless yet stimulating all the same, as salty acids and minerals build tension toward the close, balanced by ripe stone fruits. It’s persistent yet juicy, swaying between savory and sweet, while leaving the senses completely refreshed and longing for more. The Pietra Marina is an old-vines selection of Carricante from the Rinazzo Contrada on Etna’s eastern slope. It refines for 24 months on the lees in stainless steel vats prior to bottling. Put some away for a few years in the cellar, and reap the rewards. Drinking window: 2023-2032. 94 points”

    Eric Guido,Vinous (06/21)

    In Stock

  • Benanti Rovittello 2016

    £77.49

    “The 2016 Etna Rosso Rovittello Particella No. 341 Riserva opens slowly in the glass, at first backward, dusty and dark, with only nuances of dried roses to be found. Swirling adds further hints of red currant, shaved cedar and sage, yet it doesn’t fully unlock what’s beneath this youthful exterior. It washes across the palate with a more energetic expression; at first, it is silky in feel, yet has a salty mineral core and zesty acids that add grip as potent red berry fruits penetrate deeply. What remains are silty tannins that dry the senses, along with a bitter twang of savory brown spice, as the 2016 finishes with hulking structure and a hint of sour cherry that lingers. Frankly, it’s hard to tell where this is going; so for now, I remain conservative. Drinking window: 2025-2030. 91+ points

    When you’re tasting the wines of a producer who should be at the top of their game but is falling short, it’s always depressing. As for Benanti, this is an estate that was first on the scene at Etna. It’s one that helped define the single-vineyard (contradas) of the region. To this day, they continue to raise the bar with their Riserva Serra della Contessa and Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina–both stunning expressions of variety and place. They also produce an exceptional Nerello Cappuccio, one of the few single-variety expressions that readers can find outside of Sicily. This all sounds great, but the problem is that I find a huge disparity between the top wines and those that fill the majority of the portfolio. Why can’t a producer like Benanti produce an entry-level Etna Rosso that can compete with the other producers of Mount Etna? Why is their single-vineyard Rosso Monte Serra, yet again, a sub-ninety-point wine, even from a good vintage like 2019? Your guess is as good as mine.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)

    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.

    In Stock

  • Benanti Serra della Contessa 2016

    £77.49

    “The 2016 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa Particella No. 587 Riserva is dark and savory in the glass, grumbling up with notes of crushed rocks and ash that evolve further to reveal musky black currants, hints of licorice and dried violets. This is velvety-smooth, yet not weighty in feel. Instead, the 2016 seems to glide effortlessly across the palate, yet what it leaves behind is a saturation of primary fruit and mineral tones, as well as silky tannins that penetrate deeply. The Serra della Contessa finishes structured yet long and unexpectedly fresh, with balsam herbs and a touch of salted licorice that slowly fades. This Etna Rosso is a powerhouse, but it is in need of cellaring to reveal all at its charms. Drinking window: 2024-2032. 95 points

    When you’re tasting the wines of a producer who should be at the top of their game but is falling short, it’s always depressing. As for Benanti, this is an estate that was first on the scene at Etna. It’s one that helped define the single-vineyard (contradas) of the region. To this day, they continue to raise the bar with their Riserva Serra della Contessa and Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina–both stunning expressions of variety and place. They also produce an exceptional Nerello Cappuccio, one of the few single-variety expressions that readers can find outside of Sicily. This all sounds great, but the problem is that I find a huge disparity between the top wines and those that fill the majority of the portfolio. Why can’t a producer like Benanti produce an entry-level Etna Rosso that can compete with the other producers of Mount Etna? Why is their single-vineyard Rosso Monte Serra, yet again, a sub-ninety-point wine, even from a good vintage like 2019? Your guess is as good as mine.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)

    In Stock

  • Calabretta La Contrada dei Centenari 2019

    £59.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Calabretta Nonna Concetta Nerello Mascalese 2019

    £59.95

    “This is the top-shelf wine from Massimiliano Calabretta that clearly shows its seniority within the estate portfolio. Dedicated to grandma Concetta, the 2019 Nerello Mascalese Nonna Concetta is made with very old vines, some over 100 years old, some younger vines and some vines that are planted on their original rootstock. The wine carries a Terre Siciliane IGT appellation and a mere 1,000 bottles were released. Fruit is sourced from the higher part of the Feudo di Mezzo vineyard (at 680 meters in elevation). The wine is punchy and bright (with some minor volatility), flaunting its artisanal winemaking approach (with short fermentations and neutral oak) and fleshed-out texture. This 2019 vintage is recognized for its concentrated fruit. There is a pinch of cherry sourness on the close, but the wine offers beautifully naked and pure intensity. Drink: 2021-2029. 93+ points

    Massimiliano Calabretta has access to some excellent fruit from across different contrade. His vineyards start off at 550 meters in elevation at the lower part of Feudo di Mezzo and rise to 680 meters in the upper part. His Calderara Sottana and Taccione sites go up to 730 meters in elevation, and his Montedolce di Solicchiata vineyard is at 780 meters above sea level. Lastly, he farms Pinot Nero in a vineyard called Zocconero at 900 meters, and he says that the Nerello Mascalese that was once planted there only reached full maturity in one vintage out of four. He has recently acquired new land with ancient vines in Calderara Sottana and planted some new Nerello Mascalese vines in Taccione. His wine Sara draws its fruit from Feudo di Mezza, and that is the only single-vineyard wine he made in 2018. He skipped over the others because of the rainy conditions that year. He farms organically.”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (257)

    In Stock

  • Calabretta Piede Franco 2019

    £44.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Donnafugata Ben Rye 2020 (375ml)

    £39.75

    Review to follow

    In Stock