2019 Calabretta Cala Cala Vino Rosso
Region: Randazzo < Mt. Etna < Sicily
Grapes: Nerello Mascalese
Farming Practice: Organic farming; 50-100 year-old vines on Etna’s volcanic soils; grapes are de-stemmed and pressed, followed by spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel and aged in cement for 7 months; 500 cases; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Massimiliano Calabretta
FUN FACT: Mt. Etna is the highest volcano in Europe, and one of the world’s most active. It tops out at nearly 11,000 feet (you can ski Etna - yes, skiing in Sicily!) and vineyards dot the black volcanic landscape as pretty high up the mountain.
We love Etna wines, especially ones that come from small and scrappy one man (or woman) operations, like this project from Massimiliano Calabretta, whose family has made wine on the northern slopes of Mt. Etna for four generations. He makes the classic, long-aged Etna Rosso, of course, but we're loving his lighter, fresher Cala Cala Vino da Tavola made from multiple vintages of organic Nerello Mascalese, old and newer vintages, grown entirely on black volcanic soil. It seems that Massimiliano had some extra wine left over from different vintages of his Etna Rosso, which were put together to make a more youthful wine.
He keeps it simple, with shorter maceration and concrete vs. oak aging, resulting in a light(ish)-medium bodied wine that is not as serious (or big) as many Etna reds. It starts with dusty red fruit, coffee and orange peel before the smokey, flinty minerality creeps in, reminding that this is very much a product of the world's most active volcano, from soils (if you can call them that) made literally of porous black volcanic rock. Lovely with a slight chill. "Cala Cala" means "Gulp, Gulp", so we recommend you chill down a bottle and gulp some, with anything from the grill, summer vegetables (eggplant, tomato, zucchini) or a red-sauced pasta.