Celebrate the splendid wines and remarkable story of a Sicilian that has toiled away for many vintages under the watch of Europe’s most active volcano
Making wine at the foot of an active volcano isn’t for everyone. It certainly has been a generational pursuit for a particular Sicilian estate which has been producing wine for over 110 years just north of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, with intense passion and sublime results. Tornatore has vineyards spread out across Mount Etna’s best sites at high altitudes, rooted in mineral rich soils fed by volcanic lava and nurtured by Mediterranean warmth and cool sea breeze. Blessed with all these natural gifts, Tornatore produces wines of astonishing quality, tasting of flavours unique to the region thanks to its approach to only plant indigenous grapes, making the most of Sicily’s delightful Mediterranean climate and rich volcanic soil.
The Tornatore family’s vinous history dates back to the 17th century though they embarked on their Mount Etna venture in 1865. Today the family has over 60 hectares of vineyard – the largest for any estate in Etna DOC – most of them planted in the finest locations at high altitude. Further, the well-draining vineyard soils are gifted with a bounty of nutrients and minerals deposited by the volcanic eruptions. Couple that with the high elevation, diurnal climate and ample sunshine and you get conditions ideal for for slowly ripening and developing good fruit with distinct flavours. Tornatore, as earlier mentioned, has chosen to plant only local grapes, chief among which are Nerello Mascalese and Carricante. Carricante makes beautifully floral and redolent wines, tasting of citrus, stone fruit and herbs.
And Nerello Mascalese is hailed as one Sicily’s super star reds, with a light bodied berry driven character laced with minerality. Nerello Mascalese has in fact been compared to Pinot Noir for its elegant style and texture. Tornatore’s hallmark wine style is best described as focused on highlighting authentic flavours and regional influence with modest barrel ageing. Tornatore’s present family patriarch Giuseppe Tornatore believes that local grapes best express the region’s capacity for greatness and ensures that all of the fruit is handpicked. Giuseppe sums up Tornatore’s role in the continuing success of the Mount Etna region, remarking, “We believe we have a responsibility to be stewards of Etna and to reflect its distinct character in our wines.” Look forward to more authentic and vintage Sicily!
Tornatore, Etna Bianco 2019
This white is made from local grape Carricante which is only grown best on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna. The wine is floral and has notes of wildflower, white peach and herbs, and with flavours ranging from melon, citrus zest and apples, punctuated by bright acidity, finishing with hints of minerality.
Tornatore, Pietrarizzo Rosso 2017
A range of fruity and spicy notes abound in this elegant red wine that tastes of plenty of ripe fruits like raspberries and red currant, tempered by a hint of cinnamon and herbs, capped by an impressive finish.
Tornatore, Trimarchisa Rosso 2016
This hearty full bodied red lets loose generous layers of ripe fruit flavours of redcurrants and raspberries followed by star anise, buoyed by good acidity and led into a long finish by mineral notes and smooth tannins.