‘LA STAMPA’ PAGE 22. 29 MAY, 2014
-by Paolo Massobrio
“There is an international air in this winery in ‘Alto Belice not only because over 80% of their production is exported internationally but for the presence of Aurelio Di Giovanna’s German wife (great-grandson of Cristoforo that in the 1860’s founded the winery) and of Melissa Sack, American from Philadelphia (wife of one of the sons Gunther) that together with his brother Klaus are the ‘beating heart’ of the winery. Then, alongside enologist Gianfranco Zito, one isn’t surprised by French colleague Denis Dubourdie, a ‘great’ in enology, who also consults in Italy.
The search for quality began 30 years earlier with a study of the microclimate and soil composition of the property. In two diverse vineyard zones (56 hectares for 250,000 bottles) in the mountains of the Nature Reserve of Monte Genuardo and on the other side of Santa Maria del Bosco in Contessa Entellina: in the Sambuca di Sicilia vineyard rows are some of the highest altitude vineyards on the island at 800 meters above sea level. Since 1997 all of the property is certified organic and managed organically.
Now, tasting their entire range of wines, I was ‘conquered’ by the Nero d’Avola 2012: ruby color, notes of blueberry and spice followed by warmth and an elegant mouth-feel. Here is the great Nero d’Avola of my memories!
From the same grapes an excellent Rosato, then turning back to the reds ‘suprising’ is the ‘Helios’ Rosso 2012, blend of later harvest Nero d’Avola (70%) and Syrah (30%) aged in new barrique for 9 months. Tasting also the white version ‘Helios’ Bianco, it has tropical notes and a very persistent finish. In this wine the grapes are Grillo (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc (40%). Next, pure Grillo with perfume of fennel, white peach, mineral and fresh. Then the ‘Gerbino’ Bianco from Chardonnay (70%), Grillo (25%) and Viognier (5%), aged on the fine lees for 6 months with batonnage with notes of banana, citrus, savory impact on the finish with full acidity. Also this is a superb wine.