2016 Salvo Foti I Vigneri, Vigna di Milo “Caselle” Etna Bianco, Sicily, Italy.
The wonderfully seductive and delicate Caselle Vigna di Milo by the famed Salvo Foti is a single varietal white wine made from native Carricante, on the eastern slope of Etna, near the town of Milo a picturesque village that is within sight on the Ocean. This is crisply dry and steely fresh wine that shows volcanic influences with white peach, racy citrus and quince fruits with saline mouth watering zest, spicy mineral and stony notes. According to Foti, many generations of Sicilians have known that maybe Mount Etna’s greatest white wine grape, Carricante, reaches its top form here in this location higher on the cooler eastern slopes of the volcano. This quality has lead to the designation of Carricante wines from the Caselle district, surrounding the town of Milo, as the exclusive source of Etna Bianco Superiore. Medium bodied and gaining richness with air the Vigna di Milo Bianco is graceful, stylish and well crafted, it thrills the palate and goes beautifully with matching cuisine. Foti’s white is a class act and shouldn’t be overlooked, even though most people search out his Nerello Mascalese, Etna Rosso(s).
Salvo Foti, the godfather of Sicilian wines, especially Etna versions, is a native of the near by city of Catania, he studied enology and began his career in 1981 as a technical and agrarian advisor to some noted estates in eastern Sicily, and specializes in native grape growing and holistic farming. He continues that work today for estates such as Gulfi, Benanti and Vini Biondi, all of whose wines are universally recognized as among the best in Sicily, as well as malking his own whines. A number of years ago, Salvo’s love of the grapes and soils of Etna, in particular, led him to initiate a project called I Vigneri. This grower/producer group takes its name from an association that existed in the Etna region in 1435, Maestranzi dei Vigneri, a society of vineyard workers that greatly influenced the wine culture of the Etna region. Today, I Vigneri oversees many of vines of Etna and is well regarded for natural practices, traditional methods and attention to detail, as this gorgeous wine shows, which reveals the passion and hard work they put into the vineyard and cellar. With hints of ginger and tropical fruits, this lightly perfumed Vigna di Milo Carricante evolves nicely in the glass and should continue to impress for another 3 to 5 years, it is as good as many White Burgundies that cost a lot more!
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive