Sicilian Wine Adventures – Part 22; Etna, Tre Bicchieri & 2009 A’ Puddara



16 wines from Sicily made it this year. Tre bicchieri in Gambero Rosso. 11 reds, 2 whites and 3 sweet wines. That is impressive, no matter what you think about the guide. Amongst the three glasses awards, there was a wine few had tasted before – or even heard of; the 2009 A’ Puddara.

As with many Etna wines, the quantities produced are extremely limited. The 2009 A’ Puddara Carricante is sadly no exception. 3,000 bottles and 100 mags. In other words; start chasing because this is amazing stuff, especially if you’re like me and in to cool climate and acidity driven wines. Sicily? Cool climate? Is he nuts, you probably think. Well, a vineyard 900 meters above the sea level do have a pro-longed growing season and shows many similarities to colder climates. If you don’t believe me, taste the A’ Puddara!

Behind the wine you find a weak spot of mine – Tenuta di Fessina; a producer mentioned several times on this site. Winemaker Federico Curtaz has probably his origin and background to thank a lot, because during the few years he has been at Etna, his interpretations of Nerello times two, Nero d’Avola and Carricante, has been
nothing but amazing. Originally from Aosta and working many years for Angelo Gaja,  Federico probably explains it best himself:

“Tenuta di Fessina è per me l’esperienza più profonda, un ritorno all’austerità e all’atmosfera piemontese. L’Etna è stata una scoperta, una vera e propria folgorazione. Lì, tra le rocce che rievocano la mie origini in Val d’Aosta, mi sento a casa.”

For the A’ Puddara Carricante, Federico works with a one hectare small vineyard in a south facing position. The vines were planted in 1970; 6,000 vines. Alberello style. The soil consists of sand, skeleton grain and volcanic hash. For the 2009 vintage the harvest started on the 27th of October. 2009 yield: 70 hl/ha. Soft crushing after a strict selection both in the cellar and vineyard. Fermentation in oak barrels.

Finally I’ve managed to get a hold of some 2009 A’ Puddara! One bottle is sacrifized directly and paired with a filet of cod and a mild dill based creamy sauce.

Tasting note 2009 A’ Puddara (91-92 p)

Bright color with a slight green rim. Wow, what aromas! Lots of mineral character. It oozes of wet rocks! A restrained nose with green fresh herbs, Golden Delicious, unripe pineapples, almonds and a discrete floral scent. Etna style! On the palate it’s all about true class. Gorgeous restrained fruit, smoke and wet rocks, mouth-watering acidity, and a long lasting lime driven aftertaste. Lovely mix of green apples and gentle notes of unripe pineapples and grapefruit. High-altitude fruit simply. With aeration it just keeps on unfolding although it should benefit a lot on cellaring for a couple of years. Will probably last a decade.

Want to taste it? Europeans can find it here. Best 20 euros spent this year?

All the Sicilian Tre Bicchieri in 2012:

Cartagho Mandrarossa  2009 – Settesoli
Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte 2007 – Tasca d’Almerita
Contrada Porcaria 2009 – Passopisciaro
Etna Bianco A’Puddara 2009 – Tenuta di Fessina
Etna Bianco 2010 – Graci
Etna Rosso Cavanera Rovo delle Coturnie 2009 – Firriato
Etna Rosso Cirneco 2008 – Terrazze dell’Etna
Etna Rosso San Lorenzo 2009 – Girolamo Russo
Faro Palari 2009 – Palari
Lu Patri 2009 – Baglio del Cristo di Campobello
Nerobufaleffj 2007 – Gulfi
Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé  2009 – Donnafugata
Passito di Pantelleria Nes 2009 – Carlo Pellegrino
Passito Gianfranco Ferrè 2009 – Feudi del Pisciotto
Plumbago 2009 – Planeta
Sàgana 2009 – Cusumano