Opening the winery Le Casematte, which was founded in 2008, was the realization of a dream for accountant Gianfranco Sabbatino. Today that dream is shared with another person. Footballer Andrea Barzagli, a wine and winemaking enthusiast, has also “taken to the field.”
The vineyard overlooking the Strait of Messina is located in Faro Superiore, the hilly village on the extreme northern edge of Sicily. The company owes its unique name to three casemates, small fortified bunkers that served as refuges for soldiers going back to World War I and World War II. These were defensive shelters that still remain on the largest plot of land used by the vineyard.
The cycle of seasons changes form and generates life just as a place changes its meaning over time. Our land witnessed dramatic moments during World War II, and today it welcomes us as a place of work, production and growth.
That sense of death brought by the war has been replaced with silent rows of vines, which often sway in the winds that come off the Strait; advantageous winds that serve to keep the fruit cool and lower the humidity.
Visiting this land is a reminder of the events that have happened here over the centuries. In this ideal setting of the Strait of Messina, one must go beyond merely contemplating the extraordinary beauty of the landscape to discover the depth of the history and the mythological aspects that make this land and the world it belongs to so unique.
Even on the misty days when the Strait is enveloped in a white, dense light, it is as if Casematte’s vines are bathed in those silvery reflections that come off of the sea.
The scents of the soil mix in with those of the sea – the greens, reds, yellows and purples meld in to shades of blue at the end where the coast ends and the tumult of the sea begins with the winds that cross there. The wine takes nourishment from this environment and takes shape as this amazing miracle of nature is carried out.
The modern, functional vineyard has recently been expanded and equipped with a new wine cellar for carrying out the refining process. There’s also a comfortable panoramic tasting room. The terraced hillsides where our vineyards stretch up as high as 500 meters enjoy northern exposure and look out on to the sea. The winds from the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas come together over the Strait of Messina, which the vineyard faces, to create a special microclimate for favorable temperature swings between night and day, even during the summer, which means our grapes aren’t affected by any kind of thermal stress during the delicate ripening phase.