2015 Marco de Bartoli ‘Pietranera’
Region: Pantelleria < Sicily < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 60+ year old vines on volcanic, terraced slopes in Contrada Cufurà, Pantelleria, as low, free-standing bushes trained with the “vite ad alberello” system, declared a the UNESCO World Heritage agricultural practice; ferment and aging 6 months in stainless steel; bottled unfined/unfiltered; with <20ppm SO2; 11% ABV
Winemaker: Marco de Bartoli
Marco di Bartoli comes from a Marsala-producing family. He wandered for a while, became a race car driver, but found his way back to the family business, intent on changing up the status quo – which in his region was pretty industrial. He moved all farming to organics, insisted on hand harvesting in a machine-driven wine region, worked only with estate-grown grapes and fully ripened, un-chapitalized fruit (instead of adding sugar), and native yeast fermentations. In 1984 Marco acquired vines and a winery on the island of Pantelleria—a dry, dusty exotic desert-like landscape, with palm trees and fierce winds, that is closer to Tunisia than Italy. First, he started making the local, traditional wine: an unfortified passito from the best local white grape, Zibibbo, then moved into dry territory, with this incredible – dry Zibibbo, a style no one had ever made on the island. Marco passed a few years back, but his adult children Renato, Sebastiano and Giuseppina are continuing the good work started by their papa. Called ‘Pietranera’ (black rock) because of the mineral-rich black volcanic soils on which the grapes grow, this wine is intense and complex, super aromatic on the nose and palate, but bone dry. A glorious cocktail of stone fruit, gardenia, orange water and grapefruit on the rocks – literally, you get the sensation of licking rocks – in a light (11%) refreshing package.