Four expressions of Nerello Mascalese from different districts on Etna. An intense work that began with the first experiments in 2004 and took a definitive form in 2007 in the Sciaranova and Pianodario districts, and in 2015 in the Rampante district. “Knowing and understanding the nuances of a territory is not an immediate thing, you can immediately get an idea but for details it takes time. The Nerello Mascalese and the volcanic soils of the Etna interact in a magical way and manifest themselves in a distinctive and recognizable way in every district. Here the strength of the natural elements and the wisdom of the local peasants meet agronomic solutions that adapt to a territory in which each tree has its history, each terracing its life”, declared Alberto Tasca, wine producer for several generations. “15 years have gone by since the start of the project idea and 12 years since we planted our vines. Finally, we are very happy with what has been done and happy to share our new Contrada wines ”.
From the slopes of Etna to the “hills of Regaleali”, in the heart of Sicily, Tasca d’Almerita “writes and guards” its own character, without compromising what nature has magnificently donated to these places. A philosophy that began in 1830 with the work of eight generations. The symbolic wine not only for Tasca, but also for Sicilian oenology, is Rosso del Conte which, coming from the “San Lucio” vineyard, celebrates its 40th year this year.
This large vineyard of Perricone and Nero d’Avola was implanted in 1959 by Count Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita who was convinced, after his long and frequent trips to the production lands of some of the best wines in the world, that in the rural hinterland of Sicily it was possible to produce a wine that could compete with the great French reds. From the Vigna San Lucio, about 500 meters wide that extend for 8 hectares, the first vineyard was born, unique in Sicily at the time, which later became the standard-bearer for Sicilian enology.
In the Tenuta Tascante, each district has specific characteristics. Altitude, soil composition, exposure, type and morphology of lava tongues draw different paintings from each other. And it is for this reason that Nerello Mascalese tells different stories.
For example, in the Contrada Pianodario, notes of a ripe fruit emerge, which binds to the scent of wet earth and blackberry. The mouthfeel is very tense and full of matter that requires time to express itself at its best. In the Contrada Rampante, on the other hand, one perceives a riper wine that almost resembles a Pinot Noir but with a more marked reactivity and the aroma of carob, orange peel and notes of rosemary flowers. And then again, Contrada Sciaranova where the ripeness of the fruit is reminiscent of mulberry, cherries and a few notes of vanilla and oak spice. Here even a small particle of old vineyard has given birth to a limited production called Sciaranova “VV”. The latter, with the 2017 vintage, is the one that moved me more than the others, because, together with the crunchy red fruits and the sapid and mineral traits that distinguish all four ‘cru’ (single vineyards), it is the wine that proves to have achieved maturity of the tannin while retaining an extraordinary sweetness.
New enological expressions that, with the Carricante Buonora, with Ghiaia Nera, Nerello Mascalese from young vineyards and with a Chardonnay that was already in Contrada Rampante, complete the vision of Tasca d’Almerita on the northern slope of Mount Etna. The wines that I was able to taste in Verona as a preview during Vinitaly are the 2016 vintage wines that will be on the market starting from September.
Tasca has many oenological aces up its sleeve, each of which represents not only the expression of a great enology but, like the Grillo of the Isle of Mozia or the Malvasia of Salina, they are a tale of extraordinary historical and human feats. Examples of some of the most beautiful and intact landscapes of the Italian peninsula.