Ayunta Etna Rosso Calderara Sottana 2015
Red | Ready, but will improve | Ayunta | 2015 | Italy > Sicily > Mt Etna | Nerello Mascalese | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.5% abv
Filippo Mangione is originally from the other side of the island and has spent much of his career in wine sales, but poured his life savings into the rescue of three hectares of old vineyards (some vines up to 200-years-old) on the northern slopes of Mount Etna, 700 metres above sea level. An autodidact winemaker full of passion and intuition, Filippo's philosophy is very simple: "only grapes, only time and a small amount of sulphites, no other additives."
Calderara Sottana is the name of a very special 'cru' or 'contrada' as they say here on Mount Etna with distinctive stony soils (the black volcanic pumice) and some of the region's highest temperatures. It comprises the oldest pure lava flow soils on which vineyards are planted on the volcano.
The soils in Filippo's vineyard are rich in lapillus, locally named ripiddu, little globular rocks that came straight from the pit of the volcano during eruptions past. He hand-picks the best Nerello Mascalese grapes from his oldest vines (well over a century old) and ferments naturally in open top vats. The wine ages for two years in old French oak barrels just for texture not for oak flavour.
This is a remarkable wine, as Filippo describes it, "liquid stone, our tribute to the Mount Etna".