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TENUTA TASCANTE

SICILY

TENUTA TASCANTE

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Sicily’s star is ascendant in the wine community, and it seems that when anyone looks at Sicily these days, their eyes are immediately drawn to the island’s most prominent topographic feature, the great volcano Mount Etna. Etna wines are almost as hot as the lava inside that peak, metaphorically speaking. Sicily has been well known as a major source of Italian wine forever, but until relatively recently it was viewed as a producer of bulk wines for export or cheap everyday wines. With the revolution in quality that has taken place on the island in the past decade, though, that reputation has been turned on its head, and Sicilian wines are being sought out by wine buyers and consumers—none more so than the wines of Etna. 

The Tasca d'Almerita family, one of Sicily's oldest and most esteemed wine families, is now led by seventh generation Alberto Tasca. The family, who has been making wine across Sicily for over 200 years, is a leading producer of Etna wines at its Tenuta Tascante estate (the name is a portmanteau of Tasca and Etna).  The estate was founded in 2007 with the purchase of two vineyards in the communes of Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo on the north face of the volcano. The northern exposure is a cool-climate area, due to the combination of elevation and less direct sun, which helps to retain acidity in the wines. 

The Tasca family currently owns four parcels, located in the contrade of Pianodario and Sciaranova in Randazzo, and Rampante and Grasà in Castiglione. (A contrada is a small subdivision of a commune, based on various defining criteria such as elevation, cultural/historical significance, or the age of past lava flows.) The vineyards are mostly at elevations of 2,450 to 2,600 feet (750–800 meters) on the 11,000-foot mountain. All are certified as sustainable under SOStain, a Sicilian-based program that rates wineries and vineyards based on their impact on the environment, in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of the Environment’s VIVA indicators of sustainability.

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WINERY LOCATION: Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province), Sicily
WINE REGIONS: Etna DOC, Sicilia DOC
VINEYARD LAND: 35 acres (14 ha)
FARMING PRACTICES: Sustainable - SOStain Certified
GRAPE VARIETIES: Nerello Mascalese and Carricante with smaller amounts of Nerello Capuccio and Chardonnay
WINE STYLES: Dry white, dry rosé and dry red
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 81,000 bottles (61,000 liters)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2007
OWNER(S): The Tasca Family
WINEMAKER(S): Stefano Masciarelli

WINES

TENUTA TASCANTE "TEFRA" ROSATO ETNA DOC

The name Tefra is derived from the Greek word Tephra, meaning ashes.  The term refers to the explosively erupted, pyroclastic stones and soils from volcanic eruptions found in the vineyards of Mt. Etna.

TENUTA TASCANTE “BUONORA” ETNA DOC

Buonora is Tenuta Tascante’s white wine from Mount Etna’s indigenous Carricante grape variety. Historically prized for its high acidity and abundant productivity, Carricante is a multi-faceted grape that ripens late and gains complexity with aging.  Grapes for the Tenuta Tascante Buonora are sourced from cool-climate vineyards on the north and east faces of the volcano’s slopes.

TENUTA TASCANTE “GHIAIA NERA” ETNA DOC

Ghiaia Nera is Tenuta Tascante’s demonstration of the possibilities for Nerello Mascalese from young vineyards. It shows similar qualities to the old-vine Il Tascante, but with softer tannins and a distinctive freshness. This is enhanced by a lighter touch with oak aging. The name means "black gravel,"  which describes the volcanic soil of the vineyard.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA PIANODARIO ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations. Contrada Pianodario is located at 2,400 feet above sea level between the town of Randazzo and Montelaguardia. The nine acres of vineyards are characterized by terraces of dry stone walls with an average slope of 7% and the volcanic soil formations in the vineyards date from 4,000 to 30,000 years ago.  Tenuta Tascante Contrada Pianodario is 100% Nerello Mascalese aged one year in large Slavonian oak cask of 25 hl.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA RAMPANTE ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts.  Each Contrada is characterized by its soil components and the age of the lava formations in the vineyards. Tasca works in four Contrade located on the northern side of Mt. Etna. Contrada Rampante is located between Passopisciaro and Randazzo and is an 11 acre vineyard that has large dry-stone wall terraces at an average slope of 4.7% with volcanic formations that date from 4,000 - 15,000 years ago. Contrada Rampante is 100% Nerello Mascalese aged 12 months in 25 hl Slavonia oak casks.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA SCIARANUOVA ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations. The Tasca family works in four Contrade all located on the north side of Mt. Etna. Contrada Sciaranuova is located between Montelaguardia and Passopisciaro and is home to 12 acres of vineyards, planted in 2008, and more than 17 acres of chestnut groves. It is marked by its steep grade of 8.5% with volcanic formations with origins between 4,000 and 40,000 years ago. Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova is 100% Nerello Mascalese fermented in stainless steel and aged partly in large Slavonian oak cask and part in French oak barrique.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA SCIARANUOVA VIGNA VECCHIA ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations.  Contrada Sciaranuova is located between Montelaguardia and Passopisciaro.  With an area of 35 acres total and 12 acres of vineyards, the volcanic soil formations found in Sciaranuova date back 40,000 years. Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Vigna Vecchia (old vine) is produced from the portion of the vineyards that were planted in 1960. Made from 100% Nerello Mascalese, the wine is aged for one year in large Slavonian oak cask and smaller French oak tonneaux.

LOCATION


WINERY:
Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province), Sicily

VINEYARD:
Mount Etna, Sicily

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NEWS AND REVIEWS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE INDUSTRY



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92
OCTOBER 2019
Tenuta Tascante “Buonora” Etna DOC 2018

The unoaked 2018 Etna Bianco Buonora is a linear and crisp expression of the Carricante grape that is native to this part of Sicily and does particularly well on Etna. The grape absorbs the direct freshness and salinity of these volcanic soils with a snappy and crisp style that is likely to take on volume and depth as the wine continues its bottle evolution. White peach and citrus are enhanced by honey, rose and a Riesling-like touch of diesel fuel. Some 25,000 bottles were released.

91
JUNE 2022
Tenuta Tascante “Buonora” Etna DOC 2021

The 2021 Etna Bianco Buonora is nuanced and savory in the glass, impressing with a mix of yellow apple, dried florals, hints of raw almond and smoke. This is soft-textured with a lovely acid balance that motivates its saline-tinged orchard fruits and hints of sour melon. The Buonora finishes with finesse, both lightly structured and classically dry. This is already so pretty today, but with the potential for short-term cellaring.

95+
OCTOBER 2021
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Vigna Vecchia Etna DOC 2017

Made with fruit from old vines, the Tenuta Tascante 2017 Etna Rosso Contrada Sciaranuova V.V. is powerful and delicate at the same time, and it strikes a careful balance between these two opposing forces. This is one of the biggest compliments you can give to a wine from Etna, one of the most dramatic and violent winemaking panoramas on Earth. This lovely Nerello Mascalese shows aromas of cherry and wild rose with toasted nut, scorched earth and lavender essence. The concentration and staying power from those old vines add considerably to the depth, tannic power and complexity of this age-worthy bottle.

91
NOVEMBER 2020
Tenuta Tascante “Buonora” Etna DOC 2019

Racy and mineral driven, this opens with delicate but enticing scents of white spring blossom, orchard fruit and citrus. The chiseled, tangy palate features ripe pear, green melon and Meyer lemon, while crisp acidity and mineral notes give great energy.                      

92
SEPTEMBER 2020
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante Etna DOC 2016

Produced from vines planted in 2000, this wraps its dark cherry and plum flavors in a lithe texture. Aged for a year in large Slavonian oak casks, the wine shows beautiful freshness and precision. (W&S 4/20)

94
AUGUST 2022
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante Etna DOC 2019

Aromas of ash, baked strawberry and toasted herbs. Medium-to full-bodied with silky tannins. Mineral, with some savory herbal character, but it remains pleasantly red-fruited throughout. Very well layered and balanced. Drink or hold.

93
JUNE 2021
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante Etna DOC 2017

The 2017 Contrada Rampante Etna Rosso is stunning from the first tilt of the glass, showing the ripe nature of the vintage, yet balancing it wonderfully against the smoky and savory characteristics of its source. Musky cherries, dried roses, crushed black stone and a complementary hint of charred wood can all be discerned. It’s silky and pliant in feel, with sweet red berries contrasted by zesty acids and minerals. While this may not be a Rampante for long-term cellaring, it still possesses a balanced display of fine tannins that frame the expression well. There’s so much pleasure to be found here today and over the next five to eight years.

94
OCTOBER 2019
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante Etna DOC 2016

Made with vines planted at the dawn of the new millennium, the 2016 Etna Rosso Contrada Rampante comes from one of the best-performing parcels on the northern side of the volcano, where the topsoil (consisting of eroded volcanic stone and compacted ash) is a bit thicker and deeper compared to most other sites on the volcano. This allows for deep root systems and well-draining moisture. This wine shows a dark and compact nature with ripe fruit, dried blackberry, aniseed and camphor. Like the other wines in this series, this expression ages in 25-hectoliter Slavonian oak casks for 12 months. Some 5,000 bottles were made.