I Custodi Delle Vigne Dell'etnaSicily, Italy
I Custodi delle Vigne di Etna are exactly that, custodians of Mount Etna, of a dangerous yet noble land and tradition.
Mount Etna is a 'Terroir' of extremes. To witness a full eruption, even from afar, is an awe inspiring spectacle - speaking from personal experience. This is far from the sun soaked, breezy land of Southern France or the gentle days of summers in the Loire, this is extreme climate wine making. Etna can see metres of snow in winter, very high winds and scorching days in summer that end in 20 degree drops in temperature and violent thunder storms. The wines are also extreme, displaying a hard firm structure as if the grapes have toughened themselves to the mountain. I Custodi work according to natural principles, no chemicals, horses, man power, as it always has been. The vines are on restored lava stone terraces, vines planted very tightly together, following the tradition, (some vines are over 100 years old and have this same density of planting which protects the vines from the weather and keeps down the yields). The most special thing about the wines of Custodi are the workers, 'I Vigneri' are special group of vineyard workers who in the mid 15th Century formed a guild to promote and preserve the traditional techniques of working with the vines on Etna. This knowledge and culture was in danger of being lost until Salvo Foti revived the Guild of the Vigneri about 20 years ago and today under his guidance, I Vigneri continue to work in the traditional (natural) way of their ancestors and pass on the knowledge to a new generation of wine men in Sicily. A great story which underlines the quality of this winery and its wines. Try them, they are also simply lovely to drink.