Honest2Goodness Wines are delighted to be welcoming Antonio Benanti to Dublin later this month. We import all the Benanti wines into Ireland, subject to availability.
Pictured above – Guiseppe, Antonio and Salvino Benanti
The Benanti family are credited with much of the revolution in wine making in Sicily, and in particular wines from Etna. Almost forgotten grape varieties have come back to the forefront, including Carricante (white) and red wine varieties Nerello Cappuccio and Nerello Mascalese. These iconic and world-class wines are mostly in a Burgundian style, although as Antonio Benanti says:
“We shouldn’t be trying to imitate Burgundy, or Barolo – Etna stands perfectly well on its own” (quote from Decanter Magazine)
Last September saw us visiting the Benanti Winery on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna on a dull and rainy day, where Agatino Failla and Antonio Benanti gave us an insight into their philosophy and wine-making.
As we slid along the wet stony soil, it was immediately apparent that the soil composition and the altitude and slopes play a critical part in the vineyards.
Gnarled old vines and stone walls support each other in the misty rain, as Agatino tells us that there are over 70 different minerals in the soil, which explains the wonderful minerality in the wines…and the altitude prevents the grapes from becoming over-ripe.
Back in the winery, still very damp from our guided tour of the vineyard outside, Antonio Benanti brings us through a guided tasting of the wines, including some back vintages, showing the wonderful ageing potential of the white wines.The keyword is quality which shines through in everything that Benanti set out to achieve.
Pietra Marina Bianco Superiore:
Pietra Marina Bianco Superiore: Ian D’Agata, in Decanter Jan 2015 opens his review with these remarks: …many experts consider Pietra Marina to be Italy’s best white wine… his description reads … not unlike a dry Riesling… yellow flowers, flinty minerals, dried herbs, fresh citrus and diesel fuel… this wine is made from the Carricante grape variety and it has lots of ageing potential.
Etna Rosso is the mainstay of the Benanti red wine production, and has been compared to a fine Burgundy Pinot Noir, it is a blend of two indigenous grape varieties, Nerello Mascalese (80-85%) and Nerello Capuccio (15-20%). Like Pinot Noir, the colour of the wine might be light, but the wine has plenty of flavour, lots of strawberry and cherry with long silky tannins
Antonio Benanti will be in Ireland from Wednesday 17th of May til Sunday 21st. Highlights of his visit are a 7 course WineMakers Dinner at 64 Wines in Glasthule (Wed 17th May) and an instore tasting in Terroirs in Donnybrook all day Sat 20th May.
The winery is open for visitors, but prior booking is essential. You can get in touch here