Barone di Villagrande
|Barone di Villagrande 2020 Etna Bianco Superiore DOC||Login||AG 91||In Stock|
|Barone di Villagrande 2019 Etna Rosso DOC||Login||AG 90||In Stock|
Grape Collective: Marco Nicolosi of Barone di Villagrande: An Etna Bianco Pioneer
Life & Thyme: Barone di Villagrande on the Eruption of Etna Wines
The story of Barone di Villagrande started 300 years ago. It is the oldest cultivation story on Etna, fundamental to Etna’s wine history, and remarkably continues today with 10th generation Marco Nicolosi at the helm.
At the start of the 18th century, the Nicolosi Asmundo family traveled to Mount Etna as migrants with a mandate from the Bishop of Catania to transform the harsh fields of Etna from a ‘horrid and uncultivated place to a delicious garden.’ The family settled on the east side of Mt. Etna in Milo and began working the harsh volcanic land—the very land they still own and cultivate today. Then in 1727, the Emperor Charles VI of Augsburg, King of Naples, bestowed Don Carmelo Nicolosi with the title of Baron of Villagrande. Over 100 years later in 1868, 8 years after Italy was unified, Paolo Nicolosi built a new type of cellar to vinify white grapes separately from red ones. Until then, on Etna as in almost all of Italy, wine was made by blending all the harvested grapes together without distinction of color or variety. Paolo wanted to separate varieties and study their characteristics; his influence helped define what is known today as Etna Bianco Superiore. Furthermore, the Etna DOC—first DOC in Sicily—was written by Carlo Nicolosi Asmundo!
Today, Marco and his wife Barbara steward Barone di Villagrande. This historic estate is located at 700 meters a.s.l. on the eastern side of the volcano, overlooking Taormina and the Ionian Sea. Milo is different from other areas of Etna DOC as it is much more influenced by the Mediterranean. The vines receive a constant breeze every day and all day, which keeps humidity and fears of mildew away. Huge diurnal shifts from cold mountain air naturally lower the alcohol while preserving acidity and elegance. Oak and chestnut groves surround the vineyards, creating a microclimate particularly suitable for vine growth and sustainable viticulture. The family has been formally committed to organic farming practices since 1989, well before it was in vogue.
Villagrande is not only the noble title but also the name of the contrada in Milo where Marco’s family has been living for more than 300 years. The vines consist of Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante; these are ancient grapes native to Mt. Etna that impart unique flavor characteristics not found elsewhere. Using a minimal intervention approach in the cellar, Marco lets the terroir be the driving force for the wines. The goal is to respect and showcase the rich volcanic soil and climate of Milo. The resulting wines are some of the most complex, charming, and expressive wines from anywhere in Italy.