From the slopes of Mount Etna, one of the most distinctive and coveted wine regions in Europe, Al-Cantàra’s wines reflect the soul of the people and the land. Al-Cantàra takes its name from the river which flows through the municipality of Randazzo where the winery and the vineyards are located. The 15 hectare vineyard is located at 620 metres above sea level. All the operations related to the vineyard are carried out with total respect for the environment. Al Cantàra also means ‘bridge’ in Arabic which emphasises the link with the Sicilian terroir and symbolises the union between wine, art and poetry. Owner Pucci Giuffrida is a devotee of fine poetry and for this reason all of the names of the wines are inspired by the poems by Sicilian authors.
A cold start to the year was followed by an intensely warm spring, which accelerated budding. Cooler weather followed during May, June and July, which along with some downpours contributed to a reduced yield of 20%. Mild weather from August through to October allowed for a gradual and late ripening which produced white and rosé wines with great aromatic complexity and reds with good phenolic ripeness, body and balancing freshness.
The vineyard is situated at an elevation of approximately 620 metres above sea level, where warm days and cool nights encourage a long ripening period concentrating the flavours in the grapes while retaining balancing acidity. The vines are grown in volcanic soils, which are rich in minerals and fossils. The soil is permeable to air and water and is rich in pumice stone and microelements, which allow the plants to produce a complex aromatic profile. The espalier-trained vines are spur pruned. The 10 year old vineyard is cultivated following the principles of organic and biodynamic cultivation and is in conversion to organic status. The organic treatments of sulphur and copper treatments are only used when powdery or downy mildew seriously affect the vineyard. The vine moth is combatted by the use of natural pheromones, which generates confusion in the moth and prevents it from attacking the fruit. The natural microbe bacillus turingensis is used to combat insects; synthetic pesticides are avoided.
The wine was made reductively, with minimal contact with oxygen thus reducing the use of sulphur. The grapes were gently crushed and vinified in inert conditions for 12 to 14 days at 14 to 18°C in stainless steel tanks. The wine received seven months’ ageing in stainless steel tanks, without oak influence, in order to preserve the characteristics of the Carricante variety, followed by a minimum of two months bottle ageing.
Aromatic notes of flowers, golden apple and tropical fruit are accompanied by distinctive mineral overtones, typical of the native Carricante grape. Refreshing and crisp, with a lovely, spicy finish.
Vintage – 2018
• 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast, 2020