Etna “has potential to be Burgundy of Italy”

on 01/12/11 at 12:29 pm

Wine

The volcanic region of Etna in Sicily has the potential to become Italy’s answer to Burgundy, according to one of the region’s top producers.

“Our native red grape Nerello Mascalese has very similar characteristics to Pinot Noir, but with the rusticity of Barolo,” Giuseppe Benanti of Azenda Agricola Benanti said.

Speaking at the World Wine Symposium at Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Benanti told the drinks business of the impressive ageing potential of Etna’s whites and reds: “The best wines have massive ageing potential and will go on for 20 years minimum.”

Albiera Antinori, vice president of famed Tuscan producer Antinori, believes Etna could be Italy’s next great wine region. “Etna is a special place. Once you taste a Nerello Mascalese you know exactly where it’s from,” she said.

“They have the charm of the south mixed with the cool climate, which you can feel in the wines – it’s intriguing.”

Benanti sees the region’s local grapes as key to helping Etna stand out in a wine market increasingly populated by international varieties: “Making wine with international varieties is boring, today you have to be different.

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