Contrada Santo Spirito Etna Rosso DOC
Pietradolce, means “sweet stone” in Italian and is an ode to Etna. The volcanic soil covering the slopes is very stony, sandy and mineral-rich. The Etna volcano’s abundant mineral components and microclimate – cool nights, warm days and wide-ranging temperature variations – give Pietradolce wines extraordinary richness, minerality, fragrance and depth.
Mount Etna is still very active – one of the most active in the world. It is also Europe’s highest volcano, soaring up to 3,322 meters or 10,990 feet (but altitude varies slightly depending on eruptions). The winery, on Mount Etna’s northern slopes, is far enough from the actual peak for safety, yet close enough to make the most of this special terroir. Vineyard surface is over 11 hectares (27 acres) and altitude ranges from 650 to 900 meters (2,135 to 2,955 feet) above sea level. This makes for particularly fragrant, focused aromas.
The winery itself is young – founded in 2005 by brothers Michele and Mario Faro. However, Michele and Mario are no strangers to vines, roots, stock, grafts and scions – they are, according to Gambero Rosso’s 2013 Wines of Italy, “two of the world’s top experts in nursery gardening.” Not surprisingly given their background, the pillar of the Faro philosophy is the brothers’ total respect for their territory, for native grapes and for ancient, traditional training systems: bush-trained vines. Combining the best of tradition and modern technology, Pietradolce’s boutique-sized production is eco-friendly and aims for “maximum respect for the Etna heritage.” It represents Etna’s purest and fullest expressions, from very, very old vineyards pre-Phylloxera.
The Contrada Santo Spirito vineyard is about 2 hectares/5 acres of pre-Phylloxera terraced vines that have the privilege of overlooking a valley, just two kilometers from the original estate. Thus, there is very little if any protection in an area known for its drying winds, and this gives the wine its signature freshness. It is located near Passopisciaro and its wine is the most similar to a classic Burgundy. Delicate and elegant with great finesse, with a little less muscle than the other wines in the line.
After fermentation and eighteen days of maceration, Santo Spirito ages in third and fourth-use tonneaux. It beautifully highlights the differences between Etna’s micro-terroirs.
Wine exported to
Canada, USA, Singapore, Australia, Turks and Caicos
Most recent awards
- 2016 | Wine Advocate91
- 2016 | Wine Enthusiast93
- 2016 | Wine Spectator92
- 2016 | James Suckling91
100% Nerello Mascalese
Length of alcoholic fermentation:
Type of yeast:
22-28 °C (71.6-82.4 °F)
Length of maceration:
2/6 years old
Type of oak:
French, fine-grained, light toast
Aging before bottling:
Aging in bottle:
Passopisciaro, C.da Santo Spirito Mount Etna, Sicily
2 hectares (5 acres)
Volcanic, stony, sandy loam
900 meters (2,952 feet) above sea level
9000 plants per hectare
Age of vines:
pre-Phylloxera 80-90 years old
Time of harvest:
First vintage of this wine:
Total yearly production (in bottles):
Light ruby red with garnet highlights. Great finesse and elegance, mineral.
Best served at 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F).
Pairs well with red meat and roasts.
Up to 15 years
Alc cont.: 14% by volume
Michele e Mario Faro