ANTICHI VINAI A HISTORICAL REALITY ON ETNA IN THE HEART OF PASSOPISCIARO

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Our winery visit takes place in the shadow of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, in Antichi Vinai winery, located in Passopisciaro district in the northern slope of Mt. Etna, where the young Viviana is hosting us. She is the witness and active subject of the Gangemi family’s effort in the evaluation of indigenous Sicilian vine grapes, especially vine grapes from Etna. 

This was a challenge strongly desired by Giacomo Gangemi, Viviana’s grandfather, whose Viviana tells us with a feeling of true admiration and love.

In the ’60s, when the wine was still sold in bulk, Giacomo decided to start producing and bottling quality wines. In the ’80s, he bought a distillery in Passopisciaro turning it in a state-of-the-art cellar, equipped with all the modern microfiltration and temperature control systems, developing and enhancing the great bond between his family, the wine and the land which history the Gangemi family loves to pass on to the future generations. 

Indeed, already in 1877, his homonymous grandfather used to sell wine by the glass in Acireale (CT). Then, thanks to a lucky marriage, his son (Giacomo’s father) bought 90 hectares of vineyard, so the real relationship between the Gangemi family and the territory of Etna started. This great property was divided between the descendants.

Giacomo was the only one in the family who believed in this job deciding to work in the wine world by himself. He was seen as a visionary when he stopped the wholesales in 1994 to start the production of quality wine in Passopisciaro building the actual big cellar.

Supported by Giacomo’s sons, Giuseppe the winemaker and Marco the sales manager, the family business in constantly growing has always believed in the concept of fine wine, persuing the philosophy of the founder, who passed away during the harvest 2018. Viviana shows us the precious old export records of white and red wine of Etna, stored in the new winetasting room. 

Giacomo’s entrepreneurial courage is enhanced by the fifth generation of Antichi Vinai, able in blending tradition with modern technologies “to transform every glass of wine in a tasting of the culture and history of Sicily” (quote from Giacomo Gangemi)

Actually, 9 hectares in Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo districts and other 39 hectares in direct management in Biancavilla, Linguaglossa, Sant’Alfio and Piedimente districts, provide a rich and prestigious offer of 17 different type of wines. 

Excellent wine from indigenous grapevines of Etna, like Petralava Etna D.O.C. white (carricante and catarratto) – Petralava Etna D.O.C. red (nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio) – Petralava Etna D.O.C. rosè (nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio) – Koinè Etna D.O.C. red reserve (nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio) – Bollenere, Brut Long Charmat Metodo, all produced in the historical oak and chestnut aging cellar, located in the ancient underground lava stone, which we visit.

Viviana Gangemi explains us how the “1877” Etna DOC Classic Method wine is produced; this wine is the flagship of the company: 100% of Nerello Mascalese cultivated in the highest areas of the volcano, in Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo districts, with bush vine and cordon grapevine training system on volcanic-sandy soils, with strong thermic differences between day and night; hand-picked grapes, soft pressing of whole bunches, temperature-controlled fermentation; second fermentation in bottle maintaining yeast contact for over 36 months.

Respect for nature and traditions with care and attentions given by the new generation is translated in quality.

Our winery visit end in the big terrace of the winetasting room overlooking the vineyards located in the extraordinary Alcantara valley, Etna nord.

The nice company and the spectacular location are a pleasant invitation to toast the achievement of all new project with the charm of Neromosso. Nero, which means black, like the black grape of Nerello Mascalese. Mosso, which means slightly sparkling, like the small bubbles within, give it an unexpected vividness unusual for a wine produced at these latitudes. Suitable as an aperitif because it provides festive feelings, the desire for cheerfulness and being together. 

A perfect wine to sip with friends, a wine full of energy and intensity, like the young Viviana. We thank her for the hospitality and wish her “Ad Maiora”!

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