Le Casematte is owned by the charismatic Gianfranco Sabbatino and soccer champion Andrea Barzagli, whose collective passion for terroir-driven wines come through in all they do. Located on the northeastern corner of the triangular island, near Messina, Le Casematte’s flagship wine is a Faro DOC, a single, tiny, quality-driven appellation, whose total surface is a mere 20 hectares – less than 50 acres. And in fact, the winery is located at Faro Superiore, high above the Strait of Messina, where the steep hillsides have a 70% gradient. It was named after two casematte or casemates (also known as bunkers) from World War II that sit on the property and served as observatories and defensive structures at that time. Today, they watch over their largest vineyard (2 hectares, 4.9 acres). Le Casematte’s surface under vine is about 7 hectares (17 acres), between 250 and 370 meters (820-1,215 feet) above sea level. Pristine and remote, these vineyards benefit from the constant sea breezes of the Strait of Messina, notably the Sirocco wind during summer. Great day/night temperature swings give the wines wonderful aromatic qualities and freshness. The sandy, calcareous and clay soils combined with the unusual micro-climate of the vineyards give the wines amazing elegance and fragrance.
A lovely blend of Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera and Nero d’Avola from
vineyards located in Faro Superiore, Sicily.
The grapes are hand harvested in early fall and undergo long maceration on the skins in stainless steel tanks. The wine then ages in French oak for about twelve months and then in bottle for the same amount of time. Lovely nose and elegant palate featuring fruit and sweet and savory spices as well as notes typical to Sicily like Mediterranean scrub.
Faro DOC officially became an appellation in 1976, but was documented in several historical sources as being made as far as the Greek colonization of Sicily. It has been mentioned many times over in historic writings, which wax poetic about the high quality.
It then disappeared after WWII only to be revived in the 1990s. And in recent times, we’ve truly seen its total rebirth, with winemakers like Gianfranco Sabbatino leading the way with his well-respected interpretation.
Wine exported to
Austria, Canada, USA, Japan, Puerto Rico, Australia, Turks and Caicos
Most recent awards
- 2019 | Gambero RossoTre Bicchieri
- 2019 | James Suckling91
- 2018 | Vini Buoni d'ItaliaCorona
- 2016 | Wine Advocate91
- 2015 | Vinous92
- 2014 | Wine Enthusiast93
55% Nerello Mascalese, 25% Nerello Cappuccio, 10% Nocera and 10% Nero d’Avola
Length of alcoholic fermentation:
Type of yeast:
20 °C (68 °F)
Length of maceration:
Second, third use
Type of oak:
Aging before bottling:
Aging in bottle:
Faro Superiore, Messina, Sicily
20 hectares (49 acres)
Calcareous clay and sand
250-370 meters (820 and 1,215 feet) above sea level
5,000-6,000 plants per hectare
70 -75 quintals per hectare
Age of vines:
15-30 years old
Time of harvest:
Mid to late September
First vintage of this wine:
Total yearly production (in bottles):
Dark ruby red with orange highlights, its intense, elegant and ample nose boasts notes of ripe red berries and blueberries, Mediterranean scrub, and spicy notes like nutmeg and pepper. Well-balanced on the palate with firm tannins, a round, rich fruity flavor, and an elegant finale.
Best served at 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F).
Pairs well with roasts or braised meats with mushrooms, aged cheeses and rich, structured dishes.
Alcohol cont.: 13.5% by vol.