Etna “has potential to be Burgundy of Italy”

The volcanic region of Etna in Sicily has the potential to become Italy’s answer to Burgundy, according to one of the region’s top producers.

“Our native red grape Nerello Mascalese has very similar characteristics to Pinot Noir, but with the rusticity of Barolo,” Giuseppe Benanti of Azenda Agricola Benanti said.

Speaking at the World Wine Symposium at Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Benanti told the drinks business of the impressive ageing potential of Etna’s whites and reds: “The best wines have massive ageing potential and will go on for 20 years minimum.”

Albiera Antinori, vice president of famed Tuscan producer Antinori, believes Etna could be Italy’s next great wine region. “Etna is a special place. Once you taste a Nerello Mascalese you know exactly where it’s from,” she said.

“They have the charm of the south mixed with the cool climate, which you can feel in the wines – it’s intriguing.”

Benanti sees the region’s local grapes as key to helping Etna stand out in a wine market increasingly populated by international varieties: “Making wine with international varieties is boring, today you have to be different.

“We have the chance to work with indigenous grapes grown on pre-phylloxera vines that aren’t found anywhere else in the world, which gives us great scope for experimentation. I don’t understand why winemakers want to put their personality into their wines – let the terroir do the talking.”

Meanwhile, Antinori feels Italy needs to cling to its indigenous grapes, saying: “It’s important for us to develop our local varieties in Italy wherever we can.

“In the future, lots of countries are going to be producing great wines. What will be important is the fact that once you put your nose into a glass you can recognise where a wine comes from,” Antinori said.

2 Responses to “Etna “has potential to be Burgundy of Italy””

  1. … Thanks to producers along the northern and eastern rim of Etna, we have seen an unprecedented shift in focus toward quality. Benanti is only one of many. Salvo Foti, Ciro Biondi, Frank Cornelissen, Alberto Graci, Anna Martens, the Murgo family, and Gurrida have all had significant hands in re-branding the Bel Paese and the South. Also worthy to mention the revival of the Palmenti – ancient press houses.

  2. Mark DeWolf says:

    As a sommelier instructor in Canada the idea of protecting the regional character of wines is a constant discussion in class. I’ve always leaned to the side of regions sticking to their indigenous varietals both from an interest point of view but also there is a certain long term business reality that being original and distinctive is more advantageous that being just another Merlot from somewhere in the world. At a recent wine competition I judged a Nerello Mascalese was awarded the prize as the top Italian wine — I’m sure it was its distinctive and unique perfume that made it stand out from the crowd for the judges (myself included) as something unique and interesting. Thanks to the producers of Etna for their efforts to modernize but not at the sake of losing their regional identity. The world needs more Nerello and other unique varietals rather than more ubiquitous Merlot or Shiraz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Marketing Executive

Harviestoun Brewery
London, UK

Events Assistant

Speciality Drinks
Park Royal, London, UK

Digital Sales & Marketing Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Brand Marketing Manager

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

PR and Communications Manager

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Various Sales Roles

Amathus Drinks Plc
Bristol, Cardiff, Cornwall, Devon, Leeds and Birmingham

Assistant Buyer

Liberty Wines
London, UK

Partner Development Manager

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, UK

Partner Manager - Wholesale

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, UK

The City Wine & Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
12th Oct 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more