Islands of the Mediterranean 2018

In Italy, the south and its islands are a curiosity; a mystery that is part of Italy and in equal part not! In many respects they are their own culture, their own country, their own blissful paradise removed from the rest of Italy and indeed Europe. The millenia of influences from the Greeks to the Romans and pretty much everyone else who sailed past makes for a fascinating history generally, but also a viticultural heritage that is one of the oldest in Europe.

The wines of note in recent years have first come from the unique slopes of the active volcano, Mt Etna on Sicily. The combination of mineral sands and altitude (up to 900+ metres) and good stands of pre-phyloxxera Nerello Mascalese make ideal conditions for aromatic, floral and structured reds that many refer to as the "Barolo of the South". In white as well, the indigenous variety of Carricante retains good freshness and vigour. This offer highlights two producers from Etna; Tenuta di Aglaea and Tenuta di Fessina. Both make gorgeous expression from this terroir.    

The second area of note (outside the sweet wines on Pantelleria and Marsala) are the dry wines from the Aeolian islands. This small string of islands with evocative names like Stromboli (made famous for being the site of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini's extra-marital affair) , Volcano and Salina play host to a variety of small producers who ply their trade with vareities like Malvasia,  Inzolia, Alicante (grenache), Cattaratto, Nocera and Nero d'Avola just to name a few.

One of the most interesting of these producers is Hauner; the estate started by an artist Carlo Hauner who "emigrated" from the north of Italy in the later 1960s. These wines are beautifully made and are full of interest.

We hope you enjoy discovering just a few wines from this fascinating area. We're confident theywill open up a new chapter in your wine experience. PWS