Marco de Bartoli ‘Sole e Vento’ Terre Siciliane IGP 2015

Estate: Marco De Bartoli was born into two of the largest Marsala-producing families [Pellegrino and Florio) of the time.  In 1978, following a successful career as a race car driver, Marco decided to revitilise the family vineyards and grow and vinify his own wines. The 20 hectare estate is close to the town of Marsala, at the westernmost tip of Sicily. In 1984 Marco acquired additional vines and a winery on the island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than Italy. For snapshot into Marco’s life, click here.

Marco passed away in 2011 at the age of 66, his three children “carry the De Bartoli flag and his commitment to quality-driven, estate-grown wines that walk the line between old-fashioned and modern in the most graceful of ways”. They are committed to preserving and promoting indigenous grapes of Sicily, such as Grillo, Zibibbo, Catarratto and the red Pignatello [Perricone].

Winemaking: ‘Sole e Vento’ is a “tip of the hat to the two different sunny and windy islands from which it originates”, Sicily and Pantelleria. Grillo grapes are from 21 year old vines in sandy loam, level vineyards in Marsala, whilst Zibibbo hails from 29 year old vines in the volcanic, terraced slopes of Pantelleria. Organically farmed, hand harvested with only indigenous yeasts used in fermentation. Aged 7 months in stainless steel tanks, on its own lees.

Tasting Notes: Bright gold in colour with aromas of lemon, lake water and sea salt minerals. A sunny fusion of bright lemon and basil flavours, with grapefruit and saline minerals on the refreshing finish. Easy drinking, bright and unique, I was absolutely enamored with the herbaceous basil.

Blend of Zibibbo and Grillo [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Terre Siciliane IGP
Italy
Bottled by Società Agricola de Bartoli srl
11.5% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now

Stratus Vineyards ‘White’ Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA 2013

Estate: Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, Stratus Vineyards was the world’s first fully LEED-certified winery in the world in 2005. The 62 acres of vineyards “are divided into 44 distinct blocs. Each one, its own small ‘somewhereness’.” The soil consists of layers of mineral-rich earth, resting on a limestone foundation, resulting in a “clay-loam mosaic” of individual soil types. The sustainable estate grows 10 varieties of red grapes and 6 varieties of white. In 2009 Stratus enlisted famed winemaker/viticulturist Paul Hobbs “to bring additional international perspective to its operations”.

Philosophy: “The wine we grow is dependent on the health of the land on which it is grown. We farm our vineyard and guide our winemaking as though our children’s future depends on it. Each vintage bottled is a reflection of this ongoing commitment.”

Winemaking: Aged for 562 days in French oak, 20% new.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour, highly aromatic with honeysuckle, pineapple, green vegetation, caramel with a pinch of sea salt and petrol. Layers of apple, pineapple and peach glide atop bright acidity, orange and caramel shine on the nutty finish. Complex and engaging, I found this best on its own, as food tends to overpower the intriguing nuances of flavour.

Blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon & Viognier [I could not verify variatel percentages.]
Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled by Stratus Vineyards
13.8% Alcohol
$38 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2020

Murgo Etna Bianco DOC 2016

Estate: Founded in 1850, the Murgo estate is headed by Barone Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo and located on the steep slopes of Mount Etna. Along with his sons Michele, Pietro, and Matteo, Barone del Murgo has been modernizing the winery and vineyards in order to constantly improve upon the quality of the wines, yet keeping the wine as an expression of the specific volcanic soils and traditions of Etna.

Winemaking: Vineyards are farmed using sustainable methods. Fermented and aged in stainless steel “to preserve the crisp acidity and juicy freshness”.

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with aromas of lemon and sea salt minerals. Simple and refreshing with light lemon and citrus zest flavours along with bright acidity, culminating in a dry finish of slightly smoky, sea salt minerals.

70% Carricante, 30% Catarratto
Etna Bianco DOC
Sicily
Italy
Bottled by Aziende Agricole Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo SSA
12.5% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now

Pillitteri Estates Winery Gewurztraminer Riesling Fusion 2014

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Estate: Committed to creating a legacy for the generations to follow him, 3rd generation wine grower Gary Pillitteri founded the Pillitteri Winery in 1993. Gary began working in the vineyards alongside his grandfather and father in his native Sicily, and carried his passion for viticulture to Canada. Initially he and his wife grew fruits and vegetables on the estate, but in 1998 Gary decided to experiment with making a small batch of Vidal Icewine. Upon winning a gold medal right out of the starting gate, Gary decided to plant vines and open a winery. Today there are just over 100 acres of vineyards, and Gary’s grandchildren [who grew up working in the vineyards] are managing the export side of the winery, establishing themselves as the 5th generation of the Pillitteri winemaking family. Alongside their renowned Icewine, [which is currently receiving many accolades in the UK] the estate also crafts traditional Niagara wines such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Winemaking: The Gewurztraminer and Riesling blend is part of the Carretto line, which is the “table wine” range of Pillitteri. “The wines under this series are versatile enough to be consumed now or can be aged to enjoy in the coming years.” The label depicts a carretto, a colorful, horse or donkey drawn cart native to Sicily and represents an actual “cherished heirloom” of the Pillitteri family.

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with aromas of honeysuckle, lemon and hints of petrol. Bright peach, lemon and pink grapefruit flavours are buoyed by zippy acidity and hints of fresh mint. Honey, a bit of spice and polished granite minerals comprise the refreshing, dry finish. Fantastic on its own or with a wide range of dishes.

Blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling [I could not verify varietal percentages, however past vintages have been a roughly 50/50 blend.]
Niagara on the Lake VQA
Canada
12% Alcohol
$13 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2017

Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Bianco Sicilia DOC 2015

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Estate: The Tasca d’Almerita family of estates consists of the Regaleali, Capofaro, and Whitaker estates. The Tasca family has farmed the Regaleali estate since 1837. Today the 8th generation of the family, Count Lucio Tasca, oversees all of the nearly 600 hectares of vineyards along with his sons, Giuseppe and Alberto. The family is committed to sustainability; they are behind the ‘SOStain’ programme, an organization that guides companies towards increasing their sustainability. The name of the wine reflects the “thousands of roses, brought in from all over the world”, that flourish throughout the Regaleali estate.

Philosophy: Passionate about eco-sustainability, the Regaleali estate is nearly completely self-sufficient; all of their food is grown on the estate and they are working toward a carbon neutral rating. Their goal of achieving eco-sustainability “is a self-regulated, pro-active scheme to reach our goals through positive actions both in the short term and in the mid-to-long term” that they achieve using “science, technology and organization”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards planted in 1957 with clay and sandy-loam soils. Cool-fermented in stainless steel, aged for 3 months in stainless steel, then 1 month in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour with aromas of apple, pear and melon. Tasting similar to fruit aromas with an undercurrent of sweet honeysuckle complimented by zippy acidity. Saline minerals and bitter almond linger between each sip. Straightforward, with an inviting blend of contrasting flavours [sweet/bitter], great on its on or with a wide variety of everyday dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Importer: Antipasti, cerviche, seafood, Asian dishes.

Inzolia, Grecanico, Catarratto, Chardonnay [Variatel percentages vary each vintage, I was not able to confirm percentages for 2015.]
Sicilia DOC
Italy
Bottled by Tasca D’Almerita Soc. AGR. a R.L.
12% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now