Mount Etna’s Sweet Wines

Lesson
Materials

CLASS NOTES

Sweet wines grown on Mount Etna have been a luxury for millennia. While the quantities are low, the quality is good and worth seeking out. There is no Etna DOC classification for sweet wines, so they must be DOC/DOP Sicilia Passito or IGT/IGP Terre Siciliane Passito.

VARIETIES USED

The following grapes are used to make sweet wines on Mount Etna:

  • Moscato Bianco (moe-ska-toe)
  • Nerello Mascalese (nayr-rehl-low • mah-ska-lay-zay)
  • And other indigenous Sicilian grape varieties.

SWEET WINES

Sweet wines that are made on the volcano typically follow the ancient process of appassimento (drying) the grapes before fermentation. The resulting raisins are then used to make the white or red wines.

IN THE VINEYARD

Wine grapes are managed by hand. Vines are trained in alberello and cordon.

THE CELLAR

At harvest, grape clusters are removed from the vine by hand and carried to the winery in small crates. The clusters are then laid out in the sun to dry naturally. Once the dried grapes are ready, they are prepared for fermentation. White grapes are de-stemmed, pressed, and the juice is fermented. Black grapes are de-stemmed and the juice and grapes ferment together. The resulting wine is sweet and lush.

DESCRIPTION: In this lesson we discuss the sweet wines of Mount Etna.

MATERIALS: Video + Short Lecture

SUGGESTED TASTING: Anuar, Destro; Moscato Passito, La Gelsomina; Lu Disiu, Al-Cantàra

REQUIRED READING:

  • Class Notes, on Lesson Page
  • The New Wines of Mount Etna: Section – Sweet Wines, Pg. 61 – 65