Firriato Le Sabbie dell’Etna, Etna Bianco 2015

Beautiful, charming elegance from the south of Italy. Delicate, alluring and understated.

Pale yellow colour, almost transparent yet luminous.

Fresh Fruity aromas of white peach, pear and mandarin with soft touches of camomile, fresh cut grass and sea salt.

Citrusy palate with high acidity and a mineral backbone. Closes with a lasting finish of orange blossom and almond.

A fresh, fragrant wine served best on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Food pairings:

The unique personality of this wine is characterised by an abundant acidity and prominent minerality making it a perfect pair to the soft sweetness of shellfish. Some examples include: Salmon carpaccio, Linguine with shrimp and pistachio, Lobster

This wine is a blend of two indigenous varietals of Sicily, Carricante and Catarratto. Carricante provides fresh aromaticity while Catarratto gives structure and elegance to the blend. The grapes are grown on the North-eastern side of Mount Etna in volcanic soils which give the wine its unique minerality. The harvest is done manually and the grapes are fermented in steel at a controlled temperature with 3 months of aging in contact with its lees and 2 in the bottle before being put out on the market.

It is quite a hackneyed, snide comment that the south of Italy is behind the times and lacking in entrepreneurial spirit, and this winery is a fine example of that. I had the fortune of visiting the Cantina in Etna and was met with professionalism, competence and sophistication, qualities that are clearly reflected in the wine. Furthermore, it is one of the most important Sicilian wineries on an international level due to their fervour in marketing outside of the territory. Their philosophy is founded on the basis of pride in terroir, identity and quality, something many wineries claim, but perhaps can be seen specifically in their pride for the vines still present and cared for from a pre-fillossera era. Part of the vineyards include an antique cultivation of vines planted before the invasion of fillossera in the early 1900’s in “piede franco ” style. A true testament of time, defined by the winery as “sculptures of nature”, these contorted, twisted vines hold within them the story of seasons passed and are currently being studied by the University of Palermo and il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. This concrete, grounded and rational approach to respecting tradition while pushing forward into the modern world is further reflected in the winery’s emblem, a squared circle which, according to the winery, “encloses a universe in a contained space ” and searches to give “order to chaos.”

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