The Wine: Voria Rosso Pét-Nat NV
Azienda Agricola Porta del Vento Voria Rosso Pét-Nat is a sparkling red natural wine made from 100% Perricone grapes. Sandy soil, 600 meters in altitude, extreme winds with strong thermal excursions. Biodynamic and organic. Fermentation in Cement Tanks, second fermentation in bottle by adding must to the base wine. Not filtered and not disgorged.
The Producer: Azienda Agricola Porta del Vento
Under the artistry of owner/winemaker Marco Sferlazzo, Porta del Vento is making some of the most exciting, wines in all of Sicily and beyond. Marco is a dedicated winemaker who came to winemaking after a long career as a pharmacist in Camporeal, in the province of Palermo. The vines that would become the Porta Del Vento estate were being tended by a larger, corporate company that decided to pull up aging Perricone and Catarratto vines to plant Merlot or something. Marco found this distasteful and decided to purchase the vines himself and convert all the vineyards to organic and biodynamic agriculture.
The tiny, Porta del Vento winery sits 2000 feet above Palermo, near the village of Camporeale, an area of Sicily where nature can be very harsh. The vineyard extends for eighteen hectares on the hills of the area of Alcamo doc and Monreale doc. Sandy soils on sandstone crust. Vineyards are mainly cultivated with "alberello" system and are almost fifty years old, exposed to the north following the steep slopes of the land. At 600m elevation, on incredibly steep slopes, this area is known for constant, brutal winds, blowing through the vineyards. These ever-present winds, along with the large, diurnal, temperature range, allow for wines of great concentration, character, low alcohol and racy acidity. The 100% Certified Organic and Biodynamic wines, which adhere to a strict, non-interventionist approach are produced unfiltered, so as to not deprive them of the elements that make them unique. Porta del Vento's wines are uniquely expressive, conveying emotion and terroir.
The Region: Sicily
Sicily is Italy’s biggest island and also its biggest region. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina). The capital of Sicily is Palermo, a majestically decadent multicultural city offering one of the richest culinary traditions in Italy.
Sicily’s history and culture are fascinating, to say the least. Their complexity is manifest in the diverse architecture of its cities. All over the region and particularly in Palermo we can find Arab, Greek, Roman, and Spanish influences in the layout of the city as well as in the food and local language.
Sicily is the third biggest producing country in Italy, behind Veneto and Tuscany. The quality of Sicilian wines has increased steadily in the past 30 years. Some international grape varietals - mainly chardonnay and syrah - have found a place in Sicilian viticulture, traditionally dominated by native varietals such as Nero d’Avola, Catarratto, Grillo, and Inzolia.
The Terroir of Sicily
Sicily proximity to Northern Africa and position right at the center of the Mediterranean reflect deeply on its climate. Endless sunshine, moderate rainfalls, and good aeration characterize pretty much the whole region with minor seasonal variations. Palm trees and other tropical plants and fruits are a fairly common sight in Sicily all year round.
Among the several benefits of this climate one stands out: in Sicily, grapes can grow without being imperiled by mildew, rot, or any other disease brought by too much humidity. Sicilian grapes are generally speaking naturally healthy, hence the substantial number of certified organic or biodynamic wineries.
The Red Wines of Sicily
The most widely planted red grape varietal in Sicily is Nero d'Avola, which accounts for about 20% of the total regional wine production. Frappato is another prominent red varietal, used to make the only DOCG wine in Sicily, Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG.
Less common but typical of Sicily are Alicante, similar to Grenache, Nocera, and Perrone, often blended with Nero d'Avola. On the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio are key red grape varietals in the popular Etna DOC appellation.
The White Wines of Sicily
Marsala and Passito di Pantelleria are perhaps the most famous Sicilian white wines, although their popularity has been waning over the years in favor of dry and refreshing white wines made from native varietals Inzolia and Grillo are fairly easy to find in the United States and generally very good.
In a similar way to Umbria, the Central Italian region known for the red tannic wine Sagrantino di Montefalco, Chardonnay has found its place also in Sicily. Chardonnay from Sicily can vary in quality depending on the producer.
On Primal Wine we sell one of the few 100% Chardonnay vinified with extended skin-contact in the style of an Orange Wine made by the excellent Marabino winery from organically farmed grapes.