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TENUTA TASCANTE

SICILY

TENUTA TASCANTE

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Sicily’s star is ascendant in the wine community, and it seems that when anyone looks at Sicily these days, their eyes are immediately drawn to the island’s most prominent topographic feature, the great volcano Mount Etna. Etna wines are almost as hot as the lava inside that peak, metaphorically speaking. Sicily has been well known as a major source of Italian wine forever, but until relatively recently it was viewed as a producer of bulk wines for export or cheap everyday wines. With the revolution in quality that has taken place on the island in the past decade, though, that reputation has been turned on its head, and Sicilian wines are being sought out by wine buyers and consumers—none more so than the wines of Etna. 

The Tasca d'Almerita family, one of Sicily's oldest and most esteemed wine families, is now led by seventh generation Alberto Tasca. The family, who has been making wine across Sicily for over 200 years, is a leading producer of Etna wines at its Tenuta Tascante estate (the name is a portmanteau of Tasca and Etna).  The estate was founded in 2007 with the purchase of two vineyards in the communes of Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo on the north face of the volcano. The northern exposure is a cool-climate area, due to the combination of elevation and less direct sun, which helps to retain acidity in the wines. 

The Tasca family currently owns four parcels, located in the contrade of Pianodario and Sciaranova in Randazzo, and Rampante and Grasà in Castiglione. (A contrada is a small subdivision of a commune, based on various defining criteria such as elevation, cultural/historical significance, or the age of past lava flows.) The vineyards are mostly at elevations of 2,450 to 2,600 feet (750–800 meters) on the 11,000-foot mountain. All are certified as sustainable under SOStain, a Sicilian-based program that rates wineries and vineyards based on their impact on the environment, in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of the Environment’s VIVA indicators of sustainability.

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WINERY LOCATION: Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province), Sicily
WINE REGIONS: Etna DOC, Sicilia DOC
VINEYARD LAND: 35 acres (14 ha)
FARMING PRACTICES: Sustainable - SOStain Certified
GRAPE VARIETIES: Nerello Mascalese and Carricante with smaller amounts of Nerello Capuccio and Chardonnay
WINE STYLES: Dry white, dry rosé and dry red
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 81,000 bottles (61,000 liters)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2007
OWNER(S): The Tasca Family
WINEMAKER(S): Stefano Masciarelli

WINES

TENUTA TASCANTE "TEFRA" ROSATO ETNA DOC

The name Tefra is derived from the Greek word Tephra, meaning ashes.  The term refers to the explosively erupted, pyroclastic stones and soils from volcanic eruptions found in the vineyards of Mt. Etna.

TENUTA TASCANTE “BUONORA” ETNA DOC

Buonora is Tenuta Tascante’s white wine from Mount Etna’s indigenous Carricante grape variety. Historically prized for its high acidity and abundant productivity, Carricante is a multi-facited grape that ripens late and gains complexity with ageing.  Grapes for the Tenuta Tascanate Buonora are sourced from cool-climate vineyards on the north and east faces of the volcano’s slopes.

TENUTA TASCANTE “GHIAIA NERA” ETNA DOC

Ghiaia Nera is Tenuta Tascante’s demonstration of the possibilities for Nerello Mascalese from young vineyards. It shows similar qualities to the old-vine Il Tascante, but with softer tannins and a distinctive freshness. This is enhanced by a lighter touch with oak aging. The name means "black gravel,"  which describes the volcanic soil of the vineyard.

TENUTA TASCANTE “IL TASCANTE” SICILIA DOC

Sicily’s most exciting vineyards—for both wine and geological drama—are located on Mount Etna, one of the world’s most famous volcanoes. Il Tascante is made from the indigenous Nerello Mascalese, cultivated in old vineyards in two contrade (crus), Sciaranuova and Pianodario, on the northeast side of the mountain. The name is a combination of the parent winery Tasca and Etna spelled backwards.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA PIANODARIO ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations. Contrada Pianodario is located at 2,400 feet above sea level between the town of Randazzo and Montelaguardia. The nine acres of vineyards are characterized by terraces of dry stone walls with an average slope of 7% and the volcanic soil formations in the vineyards date from 4,000 to 30,000 years ago.  Tenuta Tascante Contrada Pianodario is 100% Nerello Mascalese aged one year in large Slavonian oak cask of 25 hl.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA RAMPANTE ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts.  Each Contrada is characterized by its soil components and the age of the lava formations in the vineyards. Tasca works in four Contrade located on the northern side of Mt. Etna. Contrada Rampante is located between Passopisciaro and Randazzo and is an 11 acre vineyard that has large dry-stone wall terraces at an average slope of 4.7% with volcanic formations that date from 4,000 - 15,000 years ago. Contrada Rampante is 100% Nerello Mascalese aged 12 months in 25 hl Slavonia oak casks.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA SCIARANUOVA ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations. The Tasca family works in four Contrade all located on the north side of Mt. Etna. Contrada Sciaranuova is located between Montelaguardia and Passopisciaro and is home to 12 acres of vineyards, planted in 2008, and more than 17 acres of chestnut groves. It is marked by its steep grade of 8.5% with volcanic formations with origins between 4,000 and 40,000 years ago. Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova is 100% Nerello Mascalese fermented in stainless steel and aged partly in large Slavonian oak cask and part in French oak barrique.

TENUTA TASCANTE CONTRADA SCIARANUOVA VIGNA VECCHIA ETNA DOC

Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, is situated on the eastern side of Sicily and is home of some of Italy's most dramatic wine landscapes. The Etna DOC is divided into 132 Contrade, or wine districts, that are distinguished by different volcanic soil formations.  Contrada Sciaranuova is located between Montelaguardia and Passopisciaro.  With an area of 35 acres total and 12 acres of vineyards, the volcanic soil formations found in Sciaranuova date back 40,000 years. Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Vigna Vecchia (old vine) is produced from the portion of the vineyards that were planted in 1960. Made from 100% Nerello Mascalese, the wine is aged for one year in large Slavonian oak cask and smaller French oak tonneaux.

LOCATION


WINERY:
Castiglione di Sicilia (Catania province), Sicily

VINEYARD:
Mount Etna, Sicily

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NEWS AND REVIEWS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE INDUSTRY



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93
SEPTEMBER 2020
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Vigna Vecchia Etna DOC 2016

This is one of four new single-contrada wines from Tasca Mount Etna winery, all from Etna’s northern slope. From a section of Contrada Sciaranuova planted in 1960, it’s impressively deep and concentrated, unfolding with flavors of fresh plum and pomegranate laced together by dark, schisty tannins. Scents of roses and violets provide a refined, delicate contrast to the wine’s power. (W&S 4/20)

91
OCTOBER 2020
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante Etna DOC 2016

Fresh and focused, this minerally red features a streak of salinity underscoring the well-knit flavors of crushed cherry, cured tobacco, dried fig and star anise. Offers a chewy, spiced finish. Best from 2021 through 2026. 500 cases made, 125 cases imported.

94
AUGUST 2019
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Pianodario Etna DOC 2016

Plenty of smoke, pumice, cedar, pine cones and cigar box on this one, not to mention dried strawberries and red licorice. Then come hints of treacle tart and fudge. Lots of mineral drive on the palate, which is wrapped up neatly in fine tannins. Medium-bodied and quite long on the finish. Drink now.    

92
OCTOBER 2020
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Etna DOC 2016

Tarry smoke and spice notes are layered with flavors of black cherry puree and raspberry fruit, wild sage and melted licorice in this expressive red. Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 500 cases made, 125 cases imported.

95
OCTOBER 2019
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Vigna Vecchia Etna DOC 2016

This wine is made from Tascante's oldest vines, planted in 1961. The 2016 Etna Rosso Contrada Sciaranuova V.V. (the initials stand for Vigna Vecchia or "old vines") is a beautifully polished and glossy expression with a fine and smooth aromatic presentation. It starts off with primary notes of forest berry and cassis and spans all the way over to campfire ash and camphor. That range is as beautiful as it is impressive. The mouthfeel is silky and soft with fine, powdery tannins. Put this delicate wine aside for a few more years. Some 5,000 bottles were produced.

94
AUGUST 2019
Tenuta Tascante “Ghiaia Nera” Etna DOC 2017

Love the freshness and drive to this Etna red, which is redolent of blueberries, cranberries, newly picked cherries and orange zest. So crunchy and vibrant on the palate, without a hint of overripeness. Medium-bodied and energetic, but serious. Drink now.    

94
OCTOBER 2019
Tenuta Tascante Contrada Sciaranuova Etna DOC 2016

The 2016 Etna Rosso Contrada Sciaranuova is made with fruit from vines planted in 2008 at 730 meters above sea level. This is a classic expression from Etna with an even dose of wild berry, rose, mineral and spice. This wine shows an attractive level of balance and harmony, and I am especially attracted to those distinctive volcanic or mineral tones that frame this delicate, almost fragile wine. This Etna Rosso is mostly aged in large Slavonian oak casks, but a small part goes into 300-liter tonneaux. This adds a bit more volume and girth to the finish. Production is 5,000 bottles.

92
AUGUST 2019
Tenuta Tascante “Ghiaia Nera” Etna DOC 2017

"Deep red. Very flinty and pure aromas of red cherry, redcurrants and herbs. Then mineral with juicy acidity and plenty of youthful vibrancy to the floral flavors. A lovely Etna Rosso that finishes long and graceful. Unless memory fails me, this is the best ever Etna Rosso by Tasca d’Almerita at a similar stage of development. Well done."