Have You Ever Tried Volcanic Wine?

Have You Ever Tried Volcanic Wine?

Tasting different wines, to me, is like being able to travel without ever leaving your kitchen. It’s a hobby that I’ve picked up over the last two years, shortly after succumbing to the Hulu ads for James Suckling’s Wine Appreciation masterclass.

If only I’d have known where watching that class would lead. A much better wine palate, I can assure you.

In all seriousness, learning about how wine is made, how the grapes are grown/harvested, how it’s aged and how weather can affect the crop was absolutely fascinating. And knowing this information helped me to narrow in on the regions that I wanted to check off my wine-tasting list first.

Enter stage right: Sicily.

 

Gambino Vini – “The Best Vineyards in Sicily”

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is just west of the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” It’s an area rich with history – with sites like the Valley of Temples, Doric-Style Greek temple ruins and the Byzantine mosaics at the Capella Palatina, a formerly royal chapel in Palermo. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes. Which, if you know how I feel about volcanoes, you’ll know that that means I’m instantly intrigued.

Sitting at 800 meters above sea level, Gambino Winery’s vineyards are situated on the Eastern side of the Mount Etna, a volcano inside the National Park, facing Taormina and the Ionian sea. The story of how Gambino Winery came to be is quite an interesting one.

It begins in 1978 when Mr. Vittorio Raciti and his wife Maria Gambino bought parcels of land from several local land owners, and dedicated the land to grape growing – finally modernizing the winery and wine production in 2002. The winemaking process continues to be as natural as possible, combining new technologies that help Gambino to produce cleaner wines with lower sulfites, alongside traditional practices and indigenous grape varietals. The natural techniques used to protect the grapes grown in the family vineyards have fascinated me from the moment I came across Gambino. By using pheromones rather than insecticides on the grapes, the natural wine making process is continued and insects are deterred.

That being said, the volcanic soil could  be the secret to the success of i vini di Gambino. Mineral-rich soil and a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate create a well-balanced vineyard that produces exceptional quality wines.

 

 

I Vini di Gambino

 

 

Gambino winery duvanera

No.1

Duvanera

Over this last year, I proclaimed Duvanera to be my ‘wine of the summer’. It’s luscious and bright, with hints of vanilla, plum, spice and oak. It’s a bold, well-balanced wine – perfect for any summer dinner party or to become a go-to favourite. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. Each vintage I’ve tried so far has helped me to fall further in love with this particular wine, earning it a permanent spot in my regular rotation.

It’s known for its intense ruby color, and this fruit-driven red is warm and engaging to the senses with a delightfully long finish.

 

Tasting Notes:

  • Plum
  • Cherry
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Mineral
  • Vanilla

 

Aroma:

  • Oak
  • Vanilla
  • Bright Fruit
  • Spice

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

Varietal:

  • Nero d’Avola

 

 

No.2

Alicant – Terre Sicilane

I love a bold red. Especially one that I can serve with one of my favourite dishes to make – a lamb ravioli. Alicant is exactly that. It’s an intense red wine with a beautiful ruby colour. It’s bold, yet balanced. Persistent to the senses. Aromas cocoa and leather dance along the senses, led by an imposing mix of blackberry, black currant and plum.

 

Tasting Notes:

  •  Ground pepper
  • Red fruit (blackberry, black and red currant, plum, cherry)
  • Smoke
  • Earth
  • Tobacco

 

Aroma:

  •  Ripe red fruit (blackberry, blueberry, plum, black currant)
  • Leather
  • Cocoa

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Grenache

 

 

Alicant - Terre Sicilane | Gambino Winery

 

 

 

Tifeo Rosso - Gambino Vini

No.3

Tifeo Rosso

Bright, sharp, fruity with a subtle oak finish – a kiss of the essence of summer in Sicily. That’s how I would describe il Tifeo Rosso. This full bodied red is a blend of native Sicilian grape varietals-Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and aged in oak barrels for one year, it makes for the perfect glass to pair with a fresh pasta or coal-fired pizza.

Tifeo Rosso boasts a delicate ruby color with a hint of bolder tones of garnet. The mineral aspects and freshness of this wine create a harmony between aromas and your taste buds as it takes you from beginning of evening to end.

Tasting Notes:

  • Plum
  • Blackberry
  • Tobacco
  • Ginger
  • Mineral

 

Aroma:

  • Brushwood
  • Tobacco
  • Leather
  • Dark chocolate

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Nerello Mascalese
  • Nerello Cappuccio

 

 

No.4

Petto Dragone – Etna Rosso

Another of my favourites from Gambino, and one I always try to keep a bottle of at home. Petto Dragone is a softer ruby colour, similar to the Tifeo – with the tendency to bolden into a garnet red. Aromas of berry and earth, garden rose and lavender grace the nose from this wine, with a beautifully balanced and mineral flavour.

Tasting Note

  •  Cherry
  • Raspberry
  • Minerals
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco
  • Vanilla

 

Aroma:

  •  Lavender
  • Rose
  • Red fruit
  • Fresh berries
  • Minerals

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Nerello Mascalese

 

 

Petto Dragone - Sicily Rosso Reserve

 

 

 

No.5

Tifeo Rosato

The first time I tried this wine – I pictured myself sitting by the seaside in Sicily with a cup of sorbetto nearby and a glass of Rosato in my hand. True to the tasting notes that this wine can boast, it is a delicate apricot pink with an elegant balance of fresh fruit and a dry, crisp flavour. The slightly salty mineral finish reminds me of the air next to the Adriatic sea in the south of Italy, fully transporting.

 

Tasting Notes:

  • Fruit forward (melon, strawberry, mango, pomegranate, watermelon)
  • Dry and light
  • Hint of apricot
  • Salty mineral finish

Aroma:

  • Melon
  • Pomegranate
  • Mineral
  • Mango
  • Citrus

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Nerello Mascalese

 

 

 

No.6

Tifeo Bianco

A fresh, crisp white with greener hues that compliment a golden straw colour. This wine reminds me of being in a meadow, with the aroma full of wild flowers and a fruity flavour that carries with it an earthy, mineral complexity. I love this wine with a citrus-forward dish, as it brings out the lemony finish of the wine beautifully.

 

Tasting Notes:

  • Citrus
  • Floral
  • Mineral finish
  • Green apple
  • Stony earth notes

Aroma:

  • Daisies
  • Mimosa
  • Lemons
  • Wet stone

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Catarratto Bianco
  • Carricante

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.7

Feu d’O – Rosso

Fresh and persistent, Feu d’O Rosso is an incredible example of a southern Italian red. A gorgeous red in colour, the aromas and tasting notes are ladled with red fruits, fresh florals and a hint of pepper. I personally love to decant this wine, as it opens up the cherry and oak notes really come forward brilliantly.

 

Tasting Notes:

  • Cherry
  • Raspberry
  • Tobacco
  • Oak
  • Smoke
  • Leather

 

Aroma:

  • Red fruit
  • Strawberry
  • Floral notes
  • Tobacco

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Nero d’Avola
  • Nerello Mascalese

 

 

 

No.8

Feu d’O – Bianco

I can’t say that I drink a lot of white wines, but when I do – I prefer them to be on the drier side with a hint of freshness. These wines tend to accompany an evening on a terrace with a beautiful sunset and a delicious meal.

Feu d’O Bianco is pale in colour, complimented with golden hues and a beautiful aroma of freshly picked fruit. Melon, peaches and mineral notes are a signature scent of this wine, complete with a refreshing, crisp taste.

 

Tasting Notes:

  • Citrus (Lemon, Grapefruit)
  • Tree Fruit (Peach, Melon, Pear)
  • Minerals
  • Stone
  • Honey

Aroma:

  • Melon
  • Pineapple
  • Ripe Peach

 

Region:

  • Terre Siciliane, Italy

 

Varietal:

  • Grillo
  • Carricante

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, if you’ve never given Gambino wines, or volcanic wines for that matter, a go – I’d highly recommend it. You won’t know what you’re missing until you know what you’ve been missing. Cin Cin!

 

 

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