Tasca d’Almerita expands its vineyards and gains a winery with an ancient palmento and a wine cellar for vinification.
As it has likely also happened for other producers—local and expatriates seduced by the intrigue of Sicily—the Mountain, with its terraced, ancient vineyards surrounded by forests, volcanic stone walls, wonderful food and an authentic Sicilian culture, has literally conquered us. The new venture for Tasca D’Almerita as a Mount Etna wine producer was born nearly 10 years ago – a result of love, luck and persistence.
After following path after path, we eventually placed our roots in Sciaranova, within the district of Randazzo. The oldest vineyard – dating back to 1965 – is enclosed by an old gate, protecting the farmhouse and vineyards. Vineyards, occupying about 15 hectares of grapes, are surrounded by forests of chestnut trees. Two hectares of which will be replanted in the new year with the white variety,Carricante.
Climbing towards Randazzo, we arrive at the junction of “Quota mille”, where we cross a recent lava flow formation, in the district Piano Dario (which we call always with the old name, Boccadorzo). Here the ground has been formed by layers and layers of volcanic eruptions throughout the years, and a surface molded by centuries of man. It is here that you find yourself on a road in the middle of lava flow—a layered street of molten rock and volcanic ash.
The light is breath taking—between the shadow of the volcano and Sicilian sunshine—local craftsmen and our knowledgeable team of Regaleali workers spent a few years restoring the 99 terraces here, in order to prepare our new Nerello Mascalese vineyards, and a small area for Nerello Cappuccio. All procedures atTascanteare done by manual labor, by experienced, callused hands and devotion. Harvesting is done by hand—grapes collected in small crates which are then loaded into refrigerated trucks for transport to Regaleali to be transformed into wine.
It took a few years to achieve a clear objective for the wines – with several samples of local wines and various comparisons with neighboring producers, friends and wine enthusiasts. In the meantime, our Etna vineyards were missing a small, essential element – something that today we are pleased to have made and now make official: our Etna winery! The winery is on Contrada Marchesa, located in Passopisciaro. It is a cellar of about 900 square meters, spreading out through three floors. Surrounding the winery, is six hectares ofNerello Mascalesevineyards, a small vineyard ofChardonnayand an olive grove of one and half hectares with 188 olive trees (and a giantMalettocherry tree, typical of the area). The addition of our winery is a crucial step, as we can now finally make the wines in our own facility closer to the vineyards, refining the wines in an ancientpalmentoand then aging in large barrels. After adding this crucial element of our Etna winery, we are now fully operational on Mount Etna, supporting the production of 300,000 bottles of our Tascante wines. After some small changes to be made, we will be also be operating and producing under the Etna DOC.
Our Tascante Estate is also home to a beautiful, cozy stone house – we have three small rooms and a tasting room, expecting to be open for guests in the summer of 2017. We look forward to welcoming you here!