Cortese – Nostru Catarratto Lucido 2017
Producer: Azienda Agricola Cortese
Winemaker: Stefano Chioccioli
Region: Terre Siciliane IGP
Grapes: Catarratto Lucido
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 Catarratto Lucido is a really characterful wine with spicy, citrusy aromas and flavours of jasmine, aromatic herbs, nutmeg, and delicate white peach.
On the palate it has a strong mineral backbone, great acidity with hints of sour apple and a long and complex finish with delicious almond flavours.
Pairs well with spaghetti allo scoglio (seafood), crevettes, white fish and summer salads.
Nostru Catarratto Lucido 2017 is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Nostru Catarratto Lucido 2017 contains added sulphites. Read more.
PRESS & AWARDS
‘Light smoky lemon nose, but bolder on the palate. Lots of grapefruit bitterness inside a coldsteel frame. Quite strident, unflinching, and with real mouth-drawing acidity that runs very close to the sour line. Needs a plate of ceviche.‘ 15.5 points Tamlyn Currin (JancisRobinson.com) June 2019
‘…has a pretty nose, a mix of citrus blossom and kitchen garden herbs, with vibrant acidity and a bit of mineral streak‘ – David Kermode (The Buyer & Vinosaurus) Nov 2018
‘The low-yielding Catarratto Lucido grape had almost disappeared from Sicily, but producers such as Cortese prefer the more concentrated, fresh style it lends to wines. This organic version benefits from skin maceration and extended lees stirring. Vibrant fruity aromatics of banana, pineapple and Russet apple lead to a bone-dry palate ...’ Decanter – 91 points Nov 2018
‘…is a little spicy, but at the same time reminiscent of jasmine, aromatic herbs and nutmeg, with delicate touches of white peach. On the palate there is a strong mineral backbone, perfectly balanced with lively acidity. The finish is long, complex and delicious with lingering almond flavours‘ Harpers’ Choice February 2019
More from the producer:
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 Catarratto grapes are cultivated on slopes at around 400 metres above sea level. Grapes are hand-picked in mid-September in small baskets. Picking takes place in the cool early part of the morning in order to keep the grapes as fresh as possible.
The vinification of Catarrato Lucido 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 a low temperature for about 48 hours before starting the fermentation, which takes place at 17-19C° for about 20 days. After the fermentation is finished the wine is racked and kept on fine lees for at least 5 months, with frequent battonages.
More about the grape:
Catarratto is a grape variety from the island of Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, and is mostly used in the production of light, easy-drinking white wines. Despite being grown almost exclusively in Sicily, it is one of Italy’s most commonly planted grape varieties, making up around 60 percent of the island’s total vineyard area.
The variety is commonly regarded (and widely used) as a lower-quality blending component, or an ingredient in Marsala wines, as well as grape concentrate. Catarratto is high-yielding and rather neutral-tasting, with low acidity – hardly the benchmarks of a top quality grape. That said, careful vinification from dedicated producers has shown the variety is capable of producing interesting wines with juicy texture and crisp lemon flavors.
Catarratto is permitted in Alcamo and Etna DOC wines, the latter blended with Carricante. It is also used widely in IGT wines, where less-stringent winemaking regulations let winemakers coax more from the grape. Here, it is blended with other varieties like Inzolia, Grillo and Chardonnay, but occasionally shows up as a varietal wine.
Catarratto was long thought to be two distinct grape varieties, Catarratto Bianco Comune and Catarratto Bianco Lucido. DNA testing in 2008 suggested that the two are genetically identical and, instead of being separate varieties, they are in fact different clones of the same grape variety. There is some argument as to whether or not one is superior: both are high yielding, but Comune is used more often as a bulk wine, and is distinguished by a white bloom on the berries.
The same research suggested that Catarratto is probably a descendent of Garganega, the key white-wine grape variety in northeastern Italy’s Soave wines.
Synonyms include: Catarratto Bianco, Catarratto Bianco Comune, Catarratto Bianco Lucido, Catarratto Bianco Extra Lucido.