Tenuta delle Terre Nere is located in Sicily, on the northern slopes of the Etna Volcano. The estate is made up of roughly 20-21 hectares, of which 15 are vineyards. Roughly 4.5 of these have been uprooted (in the Calderara cru) and will be replanted by 2007, having let the soil "rest". Two vineyards, for a total of roughly 11-12 hectares are in the Calderara Cru. 1.5 hectares of Calderara is prephylloxera, the rest (which has not been uprooted) is about 40-50 years old. The trellessing is "en goblet" or self standing, but in wide spacing: 2.2 x 1 meters. The elevation here is between 650 and 700 meters above sea level.
Two vineyards are in the Guardiola Cru, for a total of 2.1 hectares. Both are 60-90 years old, except for replanted vines. 450 vines were replanted in Guardiola in 2005. Training is en goblet 1 x 1 meter tight traditional spacing, steep and terraced, which means the vineyards have to be worked by hand. The elevation here is 800 to 900 meters above sea level. Above 1,000 meters, perfect ripening is uncertain for red grapes, but still vineyards are planted at these altitudes. In any case, these are the highest altitude red grape vineyards in the "old world"! Two vineyards are in the "Feudo di Mezzo" cru, for a total of 1.35 hectares. The vineyards are terraced, but not as steeply as the Guardiola vineyard. The vines are en goblet, roughly 1 x 1 meter spacing. The soil here is a blend of volcanic ash and volcanic sand, quite unusual in this area. The vines' average age is probably around 60-80 years old.
Of the crus in which I own vineyards, Guardiola is the highest in elevation, ranging from 800 to almost 1,000 metres altitude. And, naturally, as one climbs higher, the soil becomes poorer. Guardiola being no exception, its make up being mostly lean volcanic sand and basaltic pebbles of sorts, with a little ash thrown in.
Our Calderara Sottana is a single vineyard wine produced only from vineyards between 50-100 years old. Of all our single vineyard wines it is perhaps the most complete: much like a wide angle lens encompasses the most ample panorama, so Calderara seems to contain and display the widest spectrum of flavors, bouquets, nuances.
The white grapes were a mumbo-jumbo of local varieties: Carricante, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia and Minnella. So that’s what my Etna Bianco was: a field blend of all the above, with Carricante dominating the blend with roughly 65%. And that’s what it still is. All from old vines. And, somehow, it works. A perfectly lovely wine.
Feudo di Mezzo is the largest cru in the appellation, a homogenous character, but with clear qualitative variations – much like one could say of Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy. From the best parcels – such as our “Quadro delle Rose” - it betrays a dusky character, autumnal tones in its cedary-spicy bouquet.