Mt Etna smoking in the background
Filippo Ayunta and his family farm 2.8 hectares of very old vines on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Etna, an active volcano. The weather extremes in these high-elevation (700 meters) locations are well known and can involve long droughts punctuated by hail and everything in between. These volcanic soils nourish indigenous varietals that were co-planted to several varietals over the last centuries, and are part of an intriguing genetic patrimony that is unique to this location.
The reds are mostly Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and the whites mostly Carricante and Catarratto however there are many other lesser know varietals mixed in. No chemicals are used in the vineyards and all of the work is done by hand. Weeding is done by bringing in the sheep of a local shepard...This is truly artisanal winegrowing. The barrels used are large and made of chestnut, cherry and oak woods and the wines are aged long enough for non-filtered bottling. Only native yeasts are used in the wine-making and minimal sulfur levels are respected.
|Filippo Ayunta on the left and Francesco Cirelli on the right!|
|Lava flow in the vineyard|
|Showing the rocky volcanic soil|
|White vine on one side and red vine on the other!|
|One little perfect grape.|
|Fully ripe Carricante|
|Nerello (but which I don't know.)|
|Open topped concrete fermenters|
|Grapes aren't the only thing that can be found on Etna|