Pietradolce, literally means “sweet stone” and with vineyards in Solicchiata, Etna, you can’t get any earthier. The soil is indeed volcanic in origin and 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. Etna is no ordinary volcano; ’a Muntagna, as the locals call it (“the Mountain” in Sicilyn) is 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 27 acres and altitude goes from approx. 650-900 meters (2,135-2,955 feet) above sea level. This makes for particularly fragrant, focused aromas. The winery itself is young – founded in 2005 – and so are its owners, 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.” (The family business was founded by Venerando Faro in 1972.) 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 authentic with “maximum respect for the Etna heritage.” It represents Etna’s purest and fullest expressions, from very, very old vineyards: Pietradolce cru wines come from pre-Phylloxera vineyards, 80-120 years old.
Conversely, image, logo and packaging are as new, high-impact and fresh as it gets. Pietradolce enjoys excellent recognition for all their wines. In fact, Gambero Rosso named Vigna Barbagalli, the “2016 Red Wine of the Year,” just to name one.