When considering wines from around the world, it's easy to be captivated when you hear words like “Mediterranean”, “Island”, and “Active Volcano”. Maybe in part because we would all like to be floating in the blue waters of the Mediterranean or on our own island drinking wine right about now. As we navigate these unpredictable times, we are all searching for some kind of oasis, a happy place or an escape — something or somewhere that lets us be utterly detached from our surroundings, even for a moment.
For me, recently, that “thing” was a bottle of I Vigneri “Vinupetra” Rosso 2016: a red wine hailing from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily. This small vineyard of over 100 year old vines that weathers the sometimes unforgiving, wild and unrelenting environment, produces a truly exceptional wine. These vines are at high elevation (700 meters), with full exposure to the sun, heat and wind. The temperature drops substantially at night, helping to lock in the grapes’ mesmerizing acidity.
Salvo Foti is the man behind I Vigneri. He grew up on Etna, in the village of Catania. Before establishing his own label, he has (and continues to) help consult some of the most famous estates in the region. Simultaneously, he works with other growers and winemakers under his own label to teach them the unique methods of farming and winemaking on the mountain.
“Vinupetra” is made from a few local grape varieties: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Capuccio, and Alicante, as well as “Francisi” grapes in the blend, a name they’ve given the vines that are so old they do not even know what they are anymore. This wine ferments and ages in old barrel with no additives apart from native yeast. The resulting wine is so deeply satisfying that the world around you blurs as you commune with it. It’s aromatic, and deeply structured yet has a fresh acidity — a deep expression of terrior and reflection of climate. The texture and weight of the wine are in such effortless lock-step with the other elements, that all of its facets are harmonizing together to the point of perfect vibration.
-Matt RoseBack to Skin Contact