Etna’s Secret Weapon

Every wine region has a secret that makes it different. It’s not something that’s kept from the public, per se, but it is an important item of information that is so much a part of the dialogue that it falls between the cracks.

Etna’s secret is lava. Lava, lava, lava, lava, lava.

Beneath the surface of the topsoil are the remnants of more than 550,000 years of continuous effusive (liquid) and explosive (airborne) scatterings of cooled lava and elemental earth. Sewn into every neighborhood and village are varying concentrations of basalt, silica, magnesium, iron, clay, sand, and myriad elements found in the earth’s crust.

Depending on when the dust or lava arrived in one area or another, or the way the wind was blowing 140,000 years ago … one vineyard will produce one wine while their neighbor produces another from exactly the same grapes and winemaking methods.

Diversity is the secret weapon on Etna. Diversity of soils and diversity of flavors. For, no two wines will ever taste the same

In the eruptive retrospective below I would like you to imagine: every little bit of fresh earth that comes up and cools and crumbles and rolls down hill toward the sea will eventually pass through the ‪‎Etna‬ DOC, adding new qualities to the soild for future generations of ‪#‎wine‬-makers here on the mountain.

After a nearly 3000-year history of quality wine-production on the volcano’s slopes, I can’t help wonder as I pick up a stone or dig my hands in the soil, “Who saw this eruption? And how long ago did it happen?”