Walking on a lawn, surrounded by vines that dance on the magnificent secular terracing of dry lava stones, behind me the modern cellar and in front of me the majestic Etna still covered with snow: this is the image that I keep in my mind of the visit to the Palmento Costanzo Winery.
We are …. 37 ° 52 ’00 “N – 15 ° 01′ 41” E (the geographical coordinates of the estate that you will find on some of their labels) on the northern slope of Etna, in Contrada Santo Spirito, in the municipality of Castiglione di Sicilia. Here the Costanzo Family tells us about the territory and tradition in an elegant way.
The vineyards – about 14 hectares – located between 650 and 780 meters a.s.l., are cultivated according to the dictates of organic viticulture.
On etnean terracing there are vineyards of all ages, from 5 to 100 years old, and some even pre-phylloxera, all grown with etnean head-trained vines (goblet) supported by chestnut poles. They are awesome!
Even in the cellar there is great attention to the environment. On the estate there was an ancient millstone (palmento) which was recovered and restructured according to the principles of bio-architecture and to pursue the traditional “fall” vinification process, thus maintaining the original structure. The cellar, entirely in lava stone, is a fine example of architecture and allows natural temperature control.
Modernity and attention to innovation are also found in the equipment of the Cellar. It was in fact very interesting to discover Ovum, the wooden egg-shaped barrels, which, certainly beautiful aesthetically, have an important function because they favor the “natural” batonnage (lees stirring), the operation of stirring the wine during the aging on the noble lees. Their particular shape creates a convective motion between the upper part and the inner part, allowing an optimal dissolution of the substances in the wine and a consequent better maturation. In this case, therefore, unlike the barriques, it’s not necessary to intervene manually to remix the lees because this process occurs naturally.
Returning to the visit, during the tasting with the view of vineyards on the centuries-old terracing, I tasted all their wines which, as I tell you now, talk about the volcano and the territory also through the label.
Their cru, the contrada wine, the Contrada Santo Spirito 2015 Etna Rosso DOC is very interesting: penetrating notes of cherries, dried roses and eucalyptus, on the palate is full-bodied with high and well-integrated tannins. It’s also characterized by freshness, minerality and a long finish of sweet spices.
The two wines of the “di sei” (of six) line, one white and one red, are the result of a selection from the oldest vines, between 80 and 120 years old. And the name? In honor of Etna which is the sixth most active volcano on the planet.
The Rosso di Sei 2015 Etna Rosso DOC is the first born of Palmento Costanzo (the first vintage in 2011). The nose shows a certain complexity and medium intensity of raspberries, rose, coffee and cocoa and a pleasant mineral and earthy character. On the palate it’s medium bodied with medium acidity and medium and soft tannins persistent and with a pleasant spicy finish.
Bianco di Sei 2018 Etna Bianco DOC has a peach and citrus nose, with thyme and sage and a pinch of petrol. The taste is fresh, medium bodied and mineral, with a rather persistent finish.
The Classic line is the Mofete line, selection from the younger vines. Also in this case the name tells of the volcano, mofete are in fact the last gaseous manifestations of a volcanic eruption.
A rosé definitely not to be missed this summer is the Mofete Rosato 2018 Etna Rosato DOC. Crisp and with intense scents of orange peel, cherry, raspberries, strawberries, cut grass and white flowers.
A medium bodied rosé to drink today but also some time later with satisfaction.
The Mofete Rosso 2016 Etna Rosso DOC with a bouquet of cherries, plums and cinnamon. Moderately tannic, fresh and with a pleasant spicy finish.
The Mofete Bianco 2018 Etna Bianco DOC is light, fresh and with pleasant notes of white peach and flowers.
The attention to quality and attention to detail distinguish Palmento Costanzo. Especially in the “di sei” line and in the contrada wine, it is possible to “feel” a little bit of Etna even in the labels. What am I talking about? Taste the wines and pay attention to the details!