This luxury wine tour through Sicily would not have been possible a decade ago. Although Sicily still produces a greater percentage of white wines (thanks to Marsala) the real interest these days is the wonderful red wines, particularly those produced from nero d’avola grapes. The climate of Sicily is perfect for red wine production. Then there is the emergence of the volcanic Mt Etna region as a producer of stunning wines with varietals not used anywhere else. And there is an Aussie winemaker making some seriously delicious organic wines in a little winery tucked into the volcanic hillside of Mt Etna. Vino di Anna
Anna Martens and Eric Narioo started making wine together on Mount Etna in 2008. In 2010 they purchased their first vineyard of old vine Nerello Mascelese and a 250 yr old palmen+o and a winery which they restored and “Vino di Anna” was created. Today they own 6 hectares of land which they farm biodynamically. They have extended the winery and buried 9 Georgian qvevri* for vinification and maturation. The vines are alberello (bush vines) and range in age from 60 – 100 plus years old. Nerello Mascalese is the principal red grape. The white is a field blend of local grapes, mainly Grecanico and Carricante.
Anna grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. While studying oenology at Adelaide University she worked at Petaluma, in the Adelaide Hills. The travel bug soon hit and Anna worked vintages in Burgundy, New Zealand, Mendoza, Corbières and Stellenbosch. In 2001, she joined the winemaking team at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, Tuscany. Anna first visited Mt Etna in 2005, searching for volcanic gems to drink. She worked at Passopisciaro for three years before starting “Vino di Anna” with her husband, Eric Narioo in 2010.
This is just a taste of the places we will visit on our Luxury wine and Food tour of Sicily which is available for couples whenever you want to travel. We spent quality time in Etna, and we visit and stay at some of the best wine estates across the island of Sicily, including Donnafugata, Planeta & Tasca D’Almerita.
Mount Etna is an incredible place to grow vines. The soils are black, fertile and rich in minerals. The volcano is in constant eruption, often sprinkling the vineyards with fresh cinders.
Concurrent with a surge in private investment in the late nineties, has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of wine Sicily is producing. Its a quantity for quality trade off, combined with a surge in the re-establishment of long forgotten grape varietals.
For more information on grape varietals found in Sicily read Seven Grape Varieties Unique to Sicily
or get a copy of Italian Wine unplugged, Grape by Grape. or Vino Italiano, the regional wines of Italy. both available at Amazon.
*Qvevri are large earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine. Resembling large, egg-shaped amphorae without handles, they are either buried below ground or set into the floors of large wine cellars.