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The Sommelier's Box

Cottanera, ‘Barbazzale’ Bianco 2020

Regular price
$25.00 USD
Regular price
Sale price
$25.00 USD

Region: Sicily, Italy

Varietal: 95% Catarratto, 5% Viognier

Tasting notes: The Barbazzale Bianco is composed of predominantly Catarratto, the most typical, and widely planted, white grape variety in Sicily. As is characteristic of Catarratto wines, Barbazzale Bianco exhibits a pleasant freshness with delicate floral perfumes of wisteria and Scotch broom on a saline backdrop. On the palate, it is fresh and sapid. Barbazzale is the name of the “contrada,” or wine district, in which the grapes are planted in the volcanic soil of Mt. Etna, lending a remarkable minerality to the wine.

Producer: In its essence, the story of the Cottanera winery is about a return to one’s roots. The story begins with Francesco Cambria, who, in 1962, seeking a retreat from his career in Messina, bought 100 hectares of vines and hazelnut groves near his birthplace in Randazzo. Francesco cultivated hazelnuts and also initially sold grapes to the local cooperative, but with the arrival of DOC status for Etna in 1968 and hazelnuts losing market share, he soon decided to focus on grape growing for bulk wine production, replanting the hazelnut groves to vines. In the late 1980s, Francesco’s son Guglielmo decided to build a winery to make his own wine, rather than selling the grapes, and he was quite successful selling it “sfuso” in demijohns to local consumers and restaurants. The initial success of these wines pushed Guglielmo to focus on quality wine production, so in the mid-1990s, he renovated his father’s vineyards to increase density and lower yields, and the first wines labeled as Cottanera were born.

Vineyard and Winemaking: Cottanera is a little jewel, of 100 hectares set on the slopes of Mt. Etna. Of these, 65 hectares have been planted to grapes. Cottanera is located in Castiglione di Sicilia, near Catania, along with the winery, where all the phases of production are carried out, from harvesting to bottling. The vineyards grow over lava stone, 700 meters above the sea, on the northern slope of the Mt. Etna, rising and twisting into the sky along with the volcano. Hand-harvested by their team of women vineyard workers, the grapes are pressed and fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness.