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Baron Emanuele Scammaca del Murgo, a longtime Italian diplomat, decided to re-dedicate his family’s Etna property to wine production back in 1981, a time when Etna wine was little talked-about—most of what was produced from the ancient vineyards here was sold to cooperatives for bulk wine. The Murgo family’s diverse production also includes excellent Champagne-method sparklers from the same Nerello Mascalese grape that drives this bright and spicy rosato.
Mount Etna is known for gnarled, old, bush-trained vines known as alberelli (‘little trees’). Vineyard altitudes reach up to 1,000 meters, making it some of the highest-elevation viticulture in Europe. The dark, ashy, mineral-rich volcanic soils—remnants of past lava flows—lend palpable minerality to the wines. Murgo farms 25 hectares in and around Zafferana Etnea, on volcano’s eastern slopes.
This wine is composed of 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes sourced from old vines (30-40 years) on the eastern slopes of Etna; they are subjected to a cold maceration lasting about four hours, after which only the “free-run” juice (no “press wine”) is siphoned off into tanks to complete fermentation. The finished wine ages in tanks for about five months, followed by two months in bottle before release.
This wine displays a classic salmon-pink/onion skin color and delivers a tangy, spicy mouthfeel. Aromas of blood orange, nectarine, white cherry, rose petals, lavender, cinnamon, smoke, and crushed rocks carry over to the crisply refreshing palate. Pair this with tomato-y, Sicilian-style dishes: zuppa di pesce (essentially Italian bouillabaisse); eggplant caponata; or seared tuna steaks.
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