In Review

Wine of the week: an eruption of intense flavour from Etna

This Italian white could herald one of the most welcome renaissances in the modern wine world

2019 Le Sabbie dell’Etna, Etna Bianco, Firriato, Sicily, Italy
 

Etna wine is very much en vogue. It is popping up everywhere and you inevitably have to pay up for the privilege of drinking wines from this north-east corner of Sicily, grown in the surrounds of the great volcano. I am not as enamoured of these wines as many, but I understand their appeal.

It is the lava-rich soils that give the whites and reds such a notable flavour. The intense minerality is unmistakable and it brings with it a dry, grainy, raspy and somewhat peculiar sensation on the back of the palate. It’s like lobbing a few pumice stones into your glass! Etnan whites and reds are usually made from somewhat lacklustre indigenous grapes and the wines that lack intensity seem to submit to their volcanic roots.

But there are a few serious wineries whose wines are genuinely fascinating, benefiting from superb intensity and great balance, and my chosen white is one of the best-value I have tasted in years. Made from local white grapes carricante and catarratto and underpinned with the tell-tale volcanic signature, there is more fruit here that anyone could wish for and the peach and greengage notes are perfectly matched to the sour, pithy minerality.

2019 Le Sabbie dell’Etna, Etna Bianco, Firriato, Sicily, Italy

As more decent wines emerge from Etna, we might be witnessing one of the most welcome renaissances in the modern wine world: viticulture has been practised here since the Neolithic era.

2019 Le Sabbie dell’Etna, Etna Bianco, Firriato, Sicily, Italy – (£12.99, 63 branches of Waitrose; £13.02, drinksandco.co.uk

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)

This article was originally published in MoneyWeek

Recommended

The Ivy Asia Mayfair: prepare to awaken your senses
Inside The Ivy Asia Mayfair on North Audley Street
In Review

The Ivy Asia Mayfair: prepare to awaken your senses

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
Spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
On the menu

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango

The UK’s best summer food and drink festivals
Bakers on a stall at the Abergavenny Food Festival
On the menu

The UK’s best summer food and drink festivals

Recipe: American buckwheat pancakes
Recipe from Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura
On the menu

Recipe: American buckwheat pancakes

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner