Tenuta di Fessina, the places on the Etna that fascinate wine lovers

"Getting acquainted with a wine does not mean, as many believe, just  tasting two or three sips, or even a glass.... It means  to move and directly go on the spot, walking through those vineyards from which that wine is obtained....It also means strolling among the cellars, the warehouses, the concrete tanks... ".

So wrote Mario Soldati - an outstanding figure of the Italian cultural history of the Twentieth Century -  in his book “Vino al vino”.  This is also the philosophy that inspired Tenuta Fessina, a wine cellar located in Castiglione di Sicilia, in C.da Rovittello to be exact: a pleasant place for rest and refreshment after an extensive excursion into the impressive Etna’s craters; a place where you can enjoy delicious wines and local products both in the vineyards and in the cellar, perhaps while listening to music or to stories told by the winemakers poets.

Visitors are welcomed by Silvia Maestrelli, a woman capable of transmitting his love for a land rich in culture and  lush nature. The farm is nestled in a beautiful landscape that can be best admired while travelling on board of the historic train Circumetnea which leads visitor on a journey throughout breathtaking views, stretches of lava, pistachio and hazelnut groves, and terraced vineyards.

Train stops include Tenuta Fessina, situated at 670 mt above sea level. The vineyards (about seven hectares) are located between two ancient semicircular ‘sciare’ and old lava flows which, like the old walls of the French ‘clos’, provide isolation to the vineyard, thus creating a unique microenvironment, suitable for the production of great wines.

Some old vineyards are bred and grown as small trees. Everything here is handmade, according to a conscious farming which allows the production of real “pearls”, such as Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Carricante. In 2007 the Tuscan Silvia Maestrelli, together with the oenologist Federico Curtaz, decided to buy an old vineyard of Nerello Mascalese: this marked the beginning of  Tenuta Fassina’s successful adventure.

At the centre of the vineyard visitors can admire a lava millstone dated back to the Eighteen Century which maintain the ancient stone slab and  the press (once used for the pressing of the marc) still intact.

It is impossible not to love these places and the many wine lovers who decide to make a stop here are well aware of that.


Gianna Bozzali
www.coloursofsicily.com