Notes from Polaner Selections:
The Calabretta wines hail from the DOC of Etna Rosso in northeastern Sicily. The grapes here are primarily the indigenous Nerello Mascalese, with a bit Nerello Cappuccio interplanted. Massimiliano also has a small vineyard of Pinot Noir, a grape that has been planted on Etna since the 1800's. The vineyards are planted between 300 and 900 meters on the slopes of Mount Etna, an active volcano that looms in the distance for much of eastern Sicily. The soils are a combination of black volcanic ash and sand which are fine and almost silty, with lots of lava rocks and good drainage.
There is an old Nebbiolo-like profile to the wines. The aromas are steeped in dried cherries, tar, licorice, and hints of ashy/volcanic soil tones. Given the high elevation and big diurnal temperature shifts (they have ski slopes on Etna as well!), the wines retain a freshness and delineation that recalls a mature Barolo, northern Rhone or even a sturdier, earthier red Burg. With the provenance and age of the wines, they represent a terrific relative value.