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Barone di Villagrande Etna Bianco Superiore 2021


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Barone di Villagrande

Villagrande represents more than a noble title; it signifies the contrada in Milo where the family has resided for over three centuries. Situated on the eastern slope of Mount Etna, overseeing Taormina and the Ionian Sea, this location rests at an elevation of 700 meters above sea level. 

Nestled amidst the mountainous landscape, surrounded by oak and chestnut forests, the vineyard's roots penetrate deep into volcanic soils. This area is the birthplace of Etna Bianco DOC Superiore. The soils are abundant in iron and copper, with good levels of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, low nitrogen, and absent calcium—ideal for Carricante, Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio vines. These vines sprawl across well-exposed terraces, covering an expanse of 18 hectares and are cultivated using the Guyot and Spurred Cordon methods. Natural donkey fertilizer, sourced from a neighboring farm, is employed, reinforcing the connection between the vines and the land. Etnean chestnut poles are used as tutors, the same wood from which Etna Rosso barrels are crafted.

The Nicolosi Asmundo Family has an enduring legacy intertwined with the Villagrande estate. Dating back to the early 17th century, their ancestors were tasked with transforming the challenging volcanic terrain of Mount Etna into a thriving garden by the Bishop of Catania in the early 18th century. In 1727, a fairy-tale moment occurred when Emperor Charles VI conferred the title of Baron of Villagrande upon Don Carmelo Nicolosi. This marked the family's deep-rooted connection to the land and the beginnings of the oldest vine cultivation story in the region. Over generations, they transitioned from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to unified Italy, with Paolo Nicolosi constructing a modern cellar in 1869. He pioneered the separation of white and red grape processing, laying the groundwork for what is now the Etna Bianco Superiore. In 1968, the family's contributions continued as Carlo Nicolosi Asmundo, a professor of enology and alimentary techniques at the University of Catania, played a pivotal role in establishing the first Sicilian D.O.C. Etna. Today, Marco Nicolosi, as Wine Maker and Production Manager, carries forward their commitment to the region's heritage and the unique viticultural qualities of Etna, sharing this natural legacy with the world.

Etna Bianco: A fresh expression of Milo terroir. 90% Carricante and only aged in stainless steel.

Etna Rosso: A blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Capuccio from both Milo on the east side of Etna and Castiglione on the north side. Aged 12 months in 500L botti. 

Etna Rosato: 90% Nerello and 10% Carricante from Milo. A bright, mineral driven rosé that clearly shows Etna terroir.

Etna Bianco Contrada Villagrande: 90% Carricante with the remainder mixed local white grapes. All from their estate Villagrande Contrada in Milo. This powerful white sees 12 months in 500L botti and shows greater texture and complexity than the standard Etna Bianco.

Etna Rosso Contrada Villagrande: Coming solely from Milo, the Villagrande Rosso is 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Cappuccio. Unusually, the wine is aged 24 months in 500L chestnut barrels. The result is a rich, earthy expression of Etna.

The Mount Etna wine region, dramatically draped across three sides of the active Etna volcano in Sicily, is distinguished by its striking variation in elevation and the rich mosaic of volcanic soils. These unique conditions foster the cultivation of vines at altitudes ranging from a few hundred meters above sea level to over 1,000 meters, creating microclimates that yield wines of profound complexity and minerality. The region's wines, most notably those made from the indigenous Nerello Mascalese and Carricante grape varieties, are celebrated for their ability to capture the essence of Etna's fiery terroir in each bottle.

Mount Etna

Native to Sicily's Mount Etna, Carricante is a high acid white grape known for minerality. It's at its best on the east slope of the volcano, showing saltiness and texture with ample acidity to age for decades.