WINERY LOCATION: Alto Belice, province of Palermo, Sicily
VINEYARD LAND: 50 hectares
GRAPE VARIETIES: Inzolia, Nero d'Avola, Syrah
WINE STYLES: Dry white wine, dry red wine, dry rosé wine
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 330,000 bottles
OWNER(S): The Sallier de La Tour family
WINEMAKER(S): Mario Licari

Just outside the bustling epicenter of Palermo in Northwest Sicily lies the Alto Belice - a fascinating landscape and cultural crossroads.  It’s here that the Monte Jato archaeological park preserves important structures dating back to the Magna Graecia settlements.  The nearby town of Monreale is among the most evocative towns of the island and is famous for its magnificent medieval cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It’s also here that the Sallier de La Tour winery and estate has been located for over a century.

The Estate has belonged to the Sallier de La Tour family, Princes of Camporeale, since the mid-nineteenth century. Originally from the Piedmont region of Italy, the family moved to Sicily in the 18th century.  They built the winery—La Monaca—in 1909, its name inspired by the highest hill found on the property, which is located just behind the Estate. In the 1940s, Paolo Sallier de La Tour increased the family’s interest in viticulture with a particular focus on native varietals Nero d’Avola and Inzolia. In 1956, Paolo Sallier de La Tour married Costanza Tasca d’Almerita, joining the two noble families together.   

While viticulture had been a function of the estate for many years, Filiberto Sallier de La Tour, Paolo’s son, started experimenting with other varietals, most notably Syrah, which had been cultivated in the region for decades.  During this time, Filiberto also began making the first estate wines under the family’s name, releasing the first commercially produced bottles labelled Sallier de La Tour in the early 2000s.  In 2008, Filiberto approached his cousin, Alberto Tasca, with the idea of joining Sallier de La Tour with the renowned Tasca d’Almerita family of wineries.  Having long been impressed with his cousin’s passion and the family’s deep ties to their land, Alberto agreed, and the two families started a new chapter in the estate’s history.  

Today, the Estate is managed by Costanza Chirivino, a member of the Sallier de La Tour family, with the support of the Tasca d’Almerita team.  Costanza's energy and enthusiasm for her family's legacy is infectious, as is her knowledge of and affinity for the region.  In addition to managing the commercial aspects of the Estate, Alberto Tasca also included the Sallier de La Tour in the company’s sustainable initiatives.  This enables and ensures that the entire property is managed according to the tenants of SOStain, a sustainability program that requires third-party certification of the estate’s impact on air, water, soil, and surrounding territory, as well as environmental, economic, and social sustainability.  

With a history of viticulture in the area dating back to the seventh century, Monreale has long been recognized for creating high-quality wines. The Monreale DOC was founded in 2000 to further this distinction for wines made from Catarratto, Inzolia, Nero d’Avola, Perricone and Syrah.  There are eight wineries currently producing wines in the DOC, which is now helmed by a new generation of young and ambitious viticultural custodians.  The combination of long-standing traditions and a new focus on sustainability makes this one of the most interesting regions in Sicilian viticulture today.

Located in the Northwest area of Sicily near Palermo, the soil in the Monreale area is mostly made of clay, with a presence of limestone, sand, and silt.  A gently undulating landscape at an elevation of 900 – 1,900 feet above sea level with large flat areas full of fresh soils and alluvial deposits contributes to a particularly fertile terroir. At the estate itself, numerous natural springs provide a continuous water reserve for the vines, and the hot and humid microclimate, combined with the estate’s fresh soils, allow for the optimal maturation of grapes.  Nero d’Avola and Inzolia thrive here, where the grapes can maintain freshness and acidity despite the hot climate.  

The Sallier de La Tour estate is comprised of 80 hectares total, 50 of which are organically farmed vines.  The other 30 hectares are dedicated to pastures, olive groves, lakes and streams, and to preserving the unique biodiversity of the area which features an array of native plants and trees.  These native plants are a large part of the Estate’s identity and are featured on their striking wine labels created by artist Gianluca Biscalchin.   The labels pay homage to the nobility of the family through the featured costumes, while the native plants featured represent the family’s roots and long history in the area.  The two parts create a style that is playful, vivacious, and, much like the wines themselves, unforgettable.