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|Appellation/Sub-Region||Terre Siciliane IGP|
|Vineyard/Cellar Practices||Biodynamically Grown, Low-Intervention/Natural Wine, Vegan|
The perricone grape is an ancient Sicilian variety which once encompassed nearly 34,000 hectares of vines on the island. It was quite popular as a blending grape, and was often blended with Nero d’Avola, itself another ancient Sicilian varietal. However, like so many European grapes, it was stricken by the phylloxera epidemic of the 1800s and nearly died out. The devastation of WWII delivered another blow, and today only 192 ha of perricone grow in the northwestern part of Sicily, where it is also known as pignatello. Situated near the town of Marsala, the winery of Caruso & Minini dates back to the 1800s, when Antonio Caruso bought the company to grow grapes for the region’s eponymous fortified wine. In 2004, Stefano Caruso teamed up with Mario Minini of Lombardy, marking the start of the modern Caruso & Minini winery, which focuses on producing wine from Sicily’s indigenous grapes, including catarratto, Nero d’Avola, frappato, inzolia, nerello mascalese, and perricone. Stefano’s daughter, Giovanna, heads the winery along with her father, and makes a line of biodynamically produced wines from 5 ha of organically farmed vines. The vineyards are located 20 km from the ocean and are cooled by strong winds which also help inhibit fungal diseases. The area was once an ancient lake bottom, and the rich, alluvial soils are characterized by the softball-sized rocks known as “cuti” in the local dialect. These rocks help retain and transfer heat from the sun to the vines, allowing for earlier ripening, as well as imparting a distinctive minerality to the wines. This perricone is fermented in stainless steel vats, with six months spent on the lees. In the glass, dark, luscious layers of elderberry, mulberry, and black currant compote mingle with whiffs of anise, allspice, pink peppercorn, dried flowers, 5-spice, and incense on a medium-bodied frame. Tannins are well integrated; supportive but not overwhelming. A heavenly match with Moroccan, Lebanese, or Turkish cuisine, this is equally delicious with sausage, aged sharp cheeses, or spiced squash and mushroom dishes. Biodynamically grown, organically grown.