2016 Aldo Viola Saignee Rosso
Region: Alcamo < Sicily < Italy
Grapes: Nerello Mascallese, Perricone, Syrah
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming with biodynamic practices; calcareous clay with red clay topsoil, rich in marine skeletons; macerated for two weeks, some whole cluster, then co-fermented and aged in stainless steel; zero additions, not even SO2; unfined/unfiltered; 200 cases; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Aldo Viola
Aldo Viola is a one-man show in Alcamo (in the Trapani province, on Sicily's western coast), where the Viola family has been cultivating vineyards for 4 generations. This is generally white grape territory, but Aldo grows reds too, an homage to his French mom. Like many young Sicilians, he left the island to work around Europe at age 20, finally returning from Denmark in 2010 to take over the family vineyards -- I6 hectares at 350 m on a virgin mountain, in the midst of a wind farm. Here, growing conditions are ideal for organic farming – the warm, dry climate with strong winds and extreme diurnal (day to night) temperature variations naturally keep mold, rot and other nasties away. He says rather poetically, "To not use sulfites, you must have a microbiology that accompanies you like an orchestra. An orchestra made of grapes with its own bacteria and yeasts.” This light-ish red is lifted, bright and juicy, with soft Morello Cherry and black plums dancing with a savory, spicy Balsamic character. And the most intriguing smoky, salty and mineral finish. Except for the lower acid, one might almost confuse it for our fav ‘Contadino’ from the man, Frank Cornelisson, on Mt. Etna, across the island. If you’re a fan of Frank’s wines, you must try this.