Grottafumata, named after the prevalent “smoky caves” near the estate’s olive grove, is both a grower of organic olive oil on the western slopes of Mount Etna and a micro-producer of wine from Etna’s historically important “south side,” or lato sud, near Zafferano. Not wanting to deal with the bureaucracy of the Etna DOC, Mauro Cutuli and Mariangela Prestifilippo chose to declassify their gorgeous, golden, wildflower-scented nectar. Their inaugural vintage, made predominantly from Carricante vines with some Catarratto and Minnella, is a field blend with a brief skin maceration in the Etnean tradition from ancient vines on steep, volcanic slopes.
An artisanal producer of Prosecco, the Gregoletto family’s azienda was founded in 1600 in the heart of this ancient growing region around Valdobbiadene. Manzoni is a more recent addition to the Italian pantheon of grape varieties, created in the early twentieth century by crossing Riesling and Pinot Bianco. Tradition meets modernity in this fun, easy-to-like, dry Italian white that seems to have just the right medium body, fruitiness, invigorating acidity, and deliciousness factor for everyday enjoyment.
These vineyards, in the historical heart of the Castelli di Jesi DOCG, are worked organically on limestone hillsides facing the Adriatic Sea, with the Apennine Mountains at their back. The wine takes its time throughout every stage of the production process. Picked carefully, fermented slowly with wild yeasts (including full malolactic fermentation), aged in large Slavonian oak botti, and bottled unfiltered, Passolento deserves to be decanted and savored with fine cuisine, and it has development potential in your cellar. It provides vivacious refreshment but also delivers ample layers of flavor and refined texture. Suggestions of pine nuts, hay, and spring flowers lead to an ultra-precise, stony finale—you will never think of Verdicchio the same way again!
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