Versante Nord Rosso IGT Terre Siciliane
85% Nerello Mascalese/15% other. Versante Nord, both the Bianco and this Rosso, comes from 6 parcels totalling less than 2 hectares on the cooler, north-facing side of Mt. Etna (hence the wine's name at elevations ranging from 750 to 950 meters. In traditional style, he vineyards are mixed plantings of various local varieties. The black grapes include a majority of Nerello Mascalese with Nerello Cappuccio, Alicante, Garnacha and others; the whites include Minnella, Catarratto, Grecanico, Carricante and Inzolia. The pruning is mainly alberello, in some cases growing as bushes and in some trained on wires. Eduardo rents and/or farms these parcels organically. In general the soils are sandy, fine and rich in volcanic ash and lie over a sedimentary mother rock at various depths.
In the contrada of Allegracore, Eduardo rents 0.7 hectares of 50-year-old vines; the fruit lends a bright fruitiness and freshness to the final blend. In the contrada of Pietramarina, the vines average 35 years but reach about 80 years old on sandy volcanic soils; the altitude here is lower, so there is higher ripeness and more robust tannins lent to the wine. An additional parcel, Monte Portella, was added to the mix in 2017 and features limestone soils that contributed a high-toned, high-acid cut to the wine in this drought vintage.
The bunches are harvested manually into small bins and are partly destemmed and partly left as whole clusters, depending on the vintage--with more stems in 2017 in order to lower the alcohol. The fruit is gently pressed and the juice fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts; in hot years like 2017, the fermentation takes longer, so the maceration ended up being a lengthy 25 days, in cement tanks without sulfiur or temperature control. The different parcels are vinified and aged for a time separately, then blended into huge Slavonian oak botti for further aging. The wine is bottled without fining or fliltering and minimal sulfur is used.