Cortese – Nostru Carricante 2017
Producer: Azienda Agricola Cortese
Winemaker: Stefano Chioccioli
Region: Terre Siciliane IGP
The Cortese story is fascinating. A sprawling vineyard in the Ragusa region of Southern Sicily, it was previously owned by the locally infamous matriarch Giovanna Cortese. As Signora Cortese reached an age where she was no longer able to manage the land anymore, she decided to sell to Italian wine legend Stefano Girelli in 2016 who immediately set about transforming it. While modernising in some ways, he decided to keep all the very old vines of unusual varietals and even began to use ancient wine-making techniques such as fermentation in terracotta. The result is a unique and interesting range of artisinal wines that are truly representative of the Terre Sicilane.
Cortese – Nostru Carricante 2017 has elegant aromas and flavours of peach, apple, citrus fruits and blossom.
The palate has excellent acidity, minerality and ‘sapidity’ and these characteristics give Carricante a particularly long finish.
Pairs well with pasta dishes with fish sauces, it is also ideal served with mixed fish fries, tempura, or fresh fish cooked in the oven.
Cortese – Nostru Carricante 2017 is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Cortese – Nostru Carricante 2017 contains added sulphites. Read more.
PRESS & AWARDS
‘Very impressed with the lightness of their glass bottles. Bravo! A genuinely environmentally friendly winery. Smells a bit like a stone quarry, gravel dust and smoke and struck metal. Citrus, stones, metal, pulled sharply into strings so tight it’s not even vibrating. Crunchingly fresh with a bit of herbal bitterness in the tail end.’ 15.5 points Tamlyn Currin (JancisRobinson.com) June 2019
‘…feels precise, with lime, green apple, scintillating minerality and a long finish‘ David Kermode (The Buyer & Vinosaurus) Nov 2018
‘Usually seen in Etna Bianco blends, Carricante takes a starring role in this organic white, with pretty aromatics of peach, apricot, stewed apple, citrus and blossom. There’s a brisk acidity on the palate, with fresh notes of green apple and yellow citrus. A clean and mineral style, made with precision.’ Decanter – 90 points Nov 2018
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Azienda Agricola Cortese is Stefano Girelli’s new estate in Sicily, in the South East near Ragusa. Cortese has a rich history in winemaking, and under Stefano’s guiding hand, has been brought back to life.
Cortese farms in a traditional way, using organic farming techniques from a time where organic was not a choice, but the only option. The dry, sun drenched Sicilian climate provides perfect conditions for organic farming. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. Biodiversity is encouraged.
Traditional winemaking techniques are also adopted, such as fermentation in terracotta.
Cortese brings together respect for biodiversity, exclusively organic cultivation, the meeting of traditional techniques & contemporary technology and the vibrancy and colour of Sicilian life.
For Nostru, Stefano’s inspiration is the vibrant Sicilian landscape, rich and bold in colour, abundant and generous in all it produces. The “look” for Nostru is based on symbols of Sicilian culture and life, taking the authentic Sicilian Majolica ceramics as inspiration. The characters pictured on the bottles are truly original and impossible to forget. Lively and cheerful, these styles will stand out and take the consumer on a journey to Sicily.
The Carricante is cultivated at about 400 metres above sea level. As it is very prolific, it is essential to focus a lot of attention on training the vines – which the winery does using the Guillot method. Strict pruning is also absolutely key in order to limit production.
The vinification of Carricante is carried out on the principle of minimum intervention in order to achieve maximum quality in the finished wine. Grapes are de-stemmed and very softly pressed with a pneumatic press. The must is decanted at low temperature for about 48 hours before staring the fermentation, which is carried out at 17-19C° for about 20 days. When the fermentation is finished the wine is racked and kept on fine lees for at least 5 months.
More about the Grape
Carricante is an ancient white wine grape variety from eastern Sicily, thought to have been growing on the volcanic slopes of Mt Etna for at least a thousand years. The variety is known for its marked acidity, and the high yields which gave rise to its name (carica means “load” in Italian). The best examples come from vines grown in volcanic soils, at high altitude (Etna’s vineyards stretch up as high as 3940ft /1200m).
Well-adapted to their environment, Carricante vines respond well to the high diurnal temperature variations that characterize the climate around Mt. Etna. The grapes ripen slowly and steadily throughout the long growing season, retaining their trademark high acidity well into September. If harvested too early, this acidity is all too apparent in the wine, and is sometimes countered by lees contact and malolactic fermentation and/or partial barrel aging. In cooler seasons, Carricante grapes can still be seen on the vines into early October.
On the whole, Carricante wines offer a broad range of refreshing citrus aromas – anything from lemon and lime to grapefruit to orange – alongside cooling herbal notes such as mint and aniseed. An underlying mineral, slatey character is also to be found in the finest examples. When aged in stainless steel and without lees contact, notes of tart green apple shine through – a searing reminder of the variety’s naturally high acidity. Weightier Carricante wines (particularly later-harvested examples) are complemented by honeyed hints and the creamy texture that results from lees contact.
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