AddleyClarkFineWines

I Vigneri di Salvo Foti

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The name Salvo Foti is synonymous with the volcanic vineyards of Mt Etna. Born and bred in Catania, Salvo has a deep connection with the northern slopes of Mt Etna and the wines from his I Vigneri  label are a reference point for traditionally made wines in the area. Salvo created the I Vigneri association and label as a vehicle for growers and producers to keep their traditional grape growing methods and winemaking techniques alive and highlight the uniqueness of their incredible history. There are seven producers under the I Vigneri label including Salvo’s personal wines which are offered here. Salvo only works with the vines trained in the traditional alberello (bush vines) training system which is typical of the area, the vine is supported by chestnut wood stakes. All of the vines are worked organically, vineyard work is done by hand by the 30 strong I Vigneri  team along with Ciccio the mule. The winemaking is very traditional with spontaneous fermentation in concrete and old oak, no temperature control, no fining, no filtration and only a very small addition of sulphur dioxide at bottling and bottling is done according to moon phases. We have shipped three of Salvo’s wines which represent a very pure representation of their site and the overall uniqueness of their territory.

Firstly, the 2010 Vinudilice Rosato ($48.38) which comes from the stone wall terraced ‘Vigna Bosco’ vineyard (only .33 of a hectare) which sits at 1300 metres above sea level high on the northern slopes (Etna Nord) near the town of Bronte. The vineyard is in the shadow of the volcano surrounded by ‘bosco’ (woods) of chestnut trees, holly oaks and juniper. It is planted to the Alicante and small amounts of the white grape varieties Grecanico and Minella at a density of 10 000 plants per hectare in the traditional 1m x1m scheme. The vines are ancient with most being over 100 years old and third being more than 200 years old and all are trained alberello. The soil is ash and sand with the volcanic rock outcrops as well. The extreme temperature fluctuations in the vineyard give rise to grapes that are ripe yet delicate and the elevation ensures that a high level of acidity is always present giving the resultant wine a freshness and vibrancy alongside density and depth. Salmon in colour, the wine is delicate and extremely fine with a core of ripe boysenberry and raspberry fruit with a nice lick of juniper. Fresh, vibrant and long on the palate this is an incredibly pure wine from an incredible site.

The 2008 Vinupetra Etna Rosso ($61.81) is from the ‘Vigna Calderara’ vineyard (.5 of a hectare) in the Feudo di Mezzo area of Castiglione di Sicilia (Etna Nord), 700m above sea level. It is made from the local grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Alicante and Francisi. The vineyard, extending over 0.5 hectares, is around 100 years old and planted according to the Etnean alberello (bush vines) system in a 1m x 1m scheme, equivalent to 10,000 vines per hectare. Petra means rock in Italian and this is exactly what you get from this wine, a liquid rock and mineral mix with a beautiful shape on the palate and a fine, long finish. This is a special wine from another incredible site.

Lastly, the 2010 Etna Rosso ($34.94) which is a blend of grapes from various owners of the Etna vineyards cultivated by  I Vigneri who contribute a quota of grapes to the workers to make a wine for their personal consumption. Made from local varieties Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and made in a genuine fashion with fermentation in concrete and ageing in old botte this a great expression of Etna Rosso that delivers the character of the mountain in a beautiful wine that has real depth and flavour balanced by freshness and vibrancy.

Region: Etna, Sicilia
Country: Italy