Barone di Villagrande
Barone di Villagrande goes as far back as wine was probably first made on Mount Etna. In 1727, the Nicolisi family arrived on the slopes of Mt. Etna with a mandate from the church to transform the region from a “horrific and untamed place to a delicious garden”. The family has been tending the vineyards since then.
In 1968, the D.O.C. Etna was established, the first in Sicily. The disciplinary for the DOC was written by Carlo Nicolosi Asmundo, enology and alimentary techniques professor at the University of Catania. Essentially Barone di Villagrande wrote the fundamental page on the history of the wines of Etna!
Remember, Etna is an active volcano, with the last eruption (at the time of writing this) in March 2017. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe. Perhaps no terrain in Italy can boast of it’s undeniable influence of it’s volcanic soil than Etna. Nerello Mascalese makes reds with the finesse of Burgundy and the power of Barolos. Whites made from Carricante have remarkable minerality and radiance. These are wines that are delicious today and can age gracefully.
The Contrada Vineyards (Cru/single vineyards) of Barone di Villagrande are situated in the region of Milo and are on the eastern slopes of the volcano facing the Ionian sea. Wines from these vineyards are bottled only in the better years.
Monica Larner of Robert Parker’s Wine Spectator wrote “They also have a small operation on the island of Salina for making sweet Malvasia delle Lipari dessert wines. On Etna, Barone di Villagrande keeps a library of old vintages. This collection will prove enormously important to the future of Etna as a viable wine region for cellar-worthy reds. Etna is a new wine region and the vast majority of its most popular brands were founded within the past ten years. So, if you want to get an idea of the true aging potential of Etna Rosso, only Barone di Villagrande is in a position to satisfy your curiosity. Only they can offer a vertical tasting of old bottles.”
Since 1989, the Villagrande Winery has been certified organic by ECUGRUPPO Italia & SOS (Save our Souls) TAIN.
Today, the 10th generation of the same family, Marco Nicolosi and Barbara Liuzzo tend these vineyards. Together they have strengthened the mission of “cultivating a delicious garden”. Sierra Nevada Imports is delighted to partner with this historic property from Etna and look forward to showing off these beautiful wines.