In the heart of the natural reserve of Monte Genuardo and Santa Maria del Bosco, there is the Di Giovanna winery. A “triple soul” cellar: Sicilian, first of all, and then also German and American. A winery that produces wines with a great sense of place, which remain well fixed in your mind. A winery that cultivates and produces, strictly, in biological in this magnificent oasis of biodiversity, between Palermo and Agrigento.
Arriving at the Di Giovanna winery, in the park of the Sicani Mountains, one is greeted by a very fresh, almost sparkling air, I would say.
We are in the mountains! And you are surrounded by a unique landscape, between mosaic hills and Mount Genuardo, among bright green woods and vineyards.
Here, in this wonderful place between Sambuca di Sicilia and Contessa Entellina, the Di Giovanna winery practices mountain viticulture, producing wine and oil in a respectful organic regime.
If before, the focus was on international varieties, today, more and more, they focus on the native grape varieties, such as Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Grillo and, more recently, Catarratto.
Most of the vineyards are located between 350 and 480 meters a.s.l., in Contessa Entellina, in the province of Palermo, on clay-tuffaceous soils that give the wines freshness and minerality. In the mountains, in Sambuca di Sicilia, under Mount Genuardo, between 680 and 830 meters a.s.l., the other vineyards are grown, mainly on calcareous soils, which foster the production of excellent quality wines.
The further added value are the people. The warm welcome of Melissa and Gunther Di Giovanna, and of Zeus, their dog, keeper of the cellar, who guides us to discover the Grillo vineyard at 830 meters a.s.l.. We wait to taste the nectar of this mountain vineyard, which faces south and is particularly steep. This will be its first harvest!
The story of the Di Giovanna winery is one of those happy ending stories. Started with Aurelio and Barbara: he from Sambuca and her German, they meet, fall in love and decide to live in Sicily, in Sambuca, and give life to the winery with the vineyards of Aurelio’s family.
Today, together with them, this beautiful project is carried out by the sons Gunther and Klaus, supported in export management and not only by the brilliant Melissa, wife of Gunther, also a foreigner, American, but who chose Sicily as her home.
In good company, we taste some of their wines with an exceptional view of the Sicani lands.
Let’s start with their rosé, which from a previous tasting was well printed in my mind. I consider it one of the best Sicilian rosé, fruity and mineral. It’s Vurria – I would like it in Sicilian dialect – Nerello Mascalese Rosato 2018. The nose is fine and intense with cherries, strawberries, banana, orange peel, violets and flint. On the palate it’s well balanced, fresh, with medium (+) acidity, and with a very savory finish.
We continue with the Vurria Grillo 2018. Delicate and elegant nose where the lemon reigns, accompanied by notes of flowers and Mediterranean scrub. The taste is fresh, balanced and with a very savory finish.
We go up by altitude with Helios Bianco 2018. Blend of hill Grillo and mountain Chardonnay. For the next year there will be an interesting change! Meanwhile, please see the new label in the picture.
A small part of the Grillo, aged in barrique on the fine lees for about 6 months. The result is outstanding! Fine and complex nose, notes of apricot, hazelnuts, lime, anise and white flowers stand out. The use of wood is not invasive but well integrated. The sip is fresh and harmonious. The spicy finish is interesting, where the hazelnut returns. Very persistent and pleasant with a long finish.
Let’s conclude with the Nero d’Avola Vurria 2017. Truly an excellent Nero d’Avola! It opens with clear and very pronounced scents of plum, blueberries, black cherries and mulberries, packed with balsamic notes. On the palate the olfactory taste correspondence is excellent. The sip is full, with good freshness and persistence. Thanks to the short aging in French oak barrels for about 6 months, it’s very round with silky tannins. As I see it, this is a great example of Nero d’Avola, where freshness and fruit predominate accompanied by the typical power of the variety but ennobled.