Vittoria, Sicily, Italy
Located in the Vittoria province of southeastern Sicily, Giovanni Gurrieri is a third generation farmer who makes organic and biodynamic wines from his tiny parcels of Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Grillo. Until 1997, the Gurrieri family’s 18 hectares of farmland were dedicated primarily to table grape production. In 1997, Giovanni converted five hectares of land to the production of wine grapes. His two hectares of Nero d’Avola are planted on limestone rich, rocky soil. The Frappato is planted on sandy soils, lending a lightness and freshness to this highly regarded grape. Gurrieri’s one hectare of Grillo, a grape usually associated with Marsala, on the western portion of the island, is also planted to sandy soils. In addition to making a DOC Cerasuolo d’Vittoria, Giovanni makes a super rare white Nero/Frappato which is made by gently pressing the red grapes and removing the skins immediately.
The Vittoria province, nestled between the Monte Iblei and the Mediterranean is a second only to Etna in the production of top tier Sicilian wines. The soils, a mixture of red sand, clay and limestone, adds a freshness that belies Sicily’s reputation for hearty reds.
Gurrieri Dona Grazia Bianco 2016
The 2016 Donna Grazia Cerasuolo Bianco is a completely unique wine that Giovanni began making as part of this range of wines only a few years ago. It is the typical Cerasuolo di Vittoria blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato, however it was vinified like a white wine, being pressed immediately off of the skins so that no red color is in the final wine. After a hand harvest in the fields and a gentle pressing in the cellar, the juice co-fermented in stainless steel tank and stayed there for a total of 6 months. Once ready, it was bottled and three months later released to the market. The resulting wine is wonderfully fresh, but surely has a texture and weight to it that sets it apart from a typical Sicilian white. Plenty of floral and bright aromatics lead to a palate that is balanced between fruit and a mineral driven focus.
Gurrieri Frappato 2016
Gurrieri’s 2016 Frappato has all the characteristics that makes Frappato such a sought after variety today. The wine is remarkably fragrant, with red fruited aromas and floral overtones. On the palate, it’s bright and refreshing with fine tannins and excellent acidity. The Gurrieri Frappato is from 100% biodynamic, estate fruit which is hand harvested in the cool of the morning, gently pressed into stainless steel tanks and allowed to ferment naturally on the skins. Malolactic is completed in the same tanks and the wine is allowed to rest for six months before being bottled and kept for a minimum of three months before release. The resulting wine is only 12.5% alcohol and has only 40mg of SO2.
Gurrieri Nero d`Avola 2015
Gurrieri’s 2015 Nero d’Avola is a wonderful expression of this ancient and famous grape of Sicily, which is also locally known as Calabrese. Gurrieri’s version comes from grapes planted in sand, clay and rocky soils, which lend it a remarkable freshness. The grapes were hand-harvested in the early morning and brought to the cellar for a hand-destemming before native yeast fermentation in stainless steel. The resulting wine has depth on the nose, with dark berries and bright barely-ripe fruits, hints of earth and spice. A lithe (for Nero) 14% alcohol and only 55mg of SO2.