Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
It has been a lifelong dream for the Cusumano brothers to build a winery among the black, fertile soils of Mt. Etna. In April 2013, after years of searching, there appeared a unique opportunity to acquire the first three contrade on the northern slopes of Etna. From there a continually evolving project began with the reconstruction of the traditional dry stone walls of the terraces of Guardiola – the contrada (district) whose stunning beauty nurtures the underlying motivation and inspiration and whose name is given to the entire project: ALTA MORA.
The name Alta Mora translates to “High, Black” representing the great heights and dark soils of Mt. Etna. The volcano itself is nearly 11,000ft high and vineyards are planted up to 4,000ft high! The Alta Mora project truly captures the essence of the Cusumano family. They believe in taking great risk to produce great, unique wines!
Alta Mora grapes are 100% estate grown and hand harvested. The Cusumano family treats each wine as an artisanal piece of art and strives for pristine results in every bottle. To do so, they consult with renowned oenologist, Mario Ronco, who is equally ambitious about innovation and meticulous about winemaking techniques.
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on this sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white Sicilian wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieties or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected Sicilian wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry Sicilian white. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
Carricante has grown on the slopes of Sicily’s Mt. Etna for the last thousand years. It is the dominant grape in Etna Bianco DOC blends, with Catarratto as a possible minor blending partner. The best examples come from volcanic soils at higher altitudes where a large diurnal temperature shift allows slow and steady ripening and the development of Carricante’s naturally high acidity. Somm Secret—A vine variety capable of high yields if not tended to properly, Carricante gets its name from, carica, the Italian word for “load.”