The Benanti family, whose Sicilian roots date back to 1734, were true pioneers of Etna with Giuseppe Benanti being the first to realise the true potential for this unique volcanic region. Etna would not be what it is today, were it not for the visionary work of Giuseppe Benanti. The winery, which was set up in 1988 has, over time, sold off the lesser deemed plots of land and acquired further plots in the most prestigious slopes and Contrada. Now totalling 28 hectares, the winery only produces wines from Nerelo Mascalese, Nerelo Capuccio and Carricante.
Benanti Pietra Marina Etna Bianco Superiore 2019
Lucid, pale yellow with greenish nuances. The nose is intense, rich, complex, ample and full of graceful with notes of orange blossom flowers and ripe apple. The palate is dry and mineral, with a pleasantly snap, saline notes, a marked aromatic persistence and an after taste reminiscent of anise and almond. Etna D.O.C. Bianco Superiore, accounts for less than 1% of the aggregate Etna D.O.C. production
Since the very beginning in 1988, Giuseppe Benanti has aspired to demonstrate the high potential of Carricante grown in Milo. And indeed, this wine, whose name recalls volcanic landscapes, flintstones, minerals and saline sea breezes, is now unanimously considered one of the most typical, elegant and age-worthy whites in Italy. Carricante 100%, Etna’s noble indigenous white grape variety, from Contrada Rinazzo, on the Eastern slope of Mount Etna.
The berry is medium-sized with very pruinose skin that is greenish-yellow in color. The bunches are of average length and scattered. The vineyard faces east, towards the Ionian sea, at an elevation of c. 800 m a.s.l. (c. 2,600 ft a.s.l.) and is planted on small lava-stone-walled terraces of sandy volcanic soil, rich in minerals, with sub-acid reaction. The vines are head-trained, short-pruned bushes (“alberello”), reaching over 90 years of age in some cases. Planting density is 8,000 to 9,000 vinestocks per hectare, with a yield of c. 5,500 kg/ha. The area’s specific mountain climate is humid, rainy and often snowy in the colder months, with very significant ventilation, luminosity and diurnal range.
The selected grapes are harvested by hand after mid-October, de-stemmed and softly pressed. Fermentation takes place for about 12 days at a controlled temperature in a stainless steel vat, with the aid of Benanti’s own Carricante-specific indigenous yeast, which was selected from local vineyards through years of research and experimentation in the cellar. The wine matures in a stainless steel vat on the fine lees for about 24 months, with frequent bâtonnages, and then refines in the bottle for 12 months.
Spell-binding old vine Carricante