Tenuta Delle Terre Nere
About Tenuta Delle Terre Nere
Perched high up on the northern slope of Mount Etna, the estate of Tenuta Delle Terre Nere was founded by Marco de Grazia, one of the “Barolo Boys” who popularized the modernized interpretation of Barolo. Due to past eruptions and lava flow, the terroir here is a mosaic of endless soil variations, an absolute paradise for Burgundian-inspired wine-makers. And indeed, Marco is such a huge fan of the Burgundian Cru classification that he classified his vineyards likewise.
“Proprietor Marc de Grazia is one of the pioneers of the Etna. Not only was he among the first producers to recognize the value of these once-forgotten, ancient terroirs, he also was the first producer to bring attention to the specific qualities of these vineyards by bottling single-parcel Nerellos that have become reference-point wines for the Etna.” – Wine Advocate”
The estate covers 55 hectares, with 27 hectares under vines that are at least half a century old sprawled along a belt between the village of Solicchiata and the town of Randazzo, an area well-known for producing the region’s finest red wines that Marco compares to the Côte d’Or of Burgundy. Only native varieties are grown, an approach that served Marco well during difficult vintages such as the 2017 where, despite the extreme heat and lack of rain, “the island’s native grapes fared best, thanks to their centuries-long adaptation to their respective Sicilian terroirs and to the older average age of native vines as opposed to recently planted international varieties” (Ian D’Agata, 2017 Vintage Report, Vinous).
The Vineyards and the Wines
Tenuta Delle Terre Nere owns vineyards in 6 Crus, namely Calderara Sottana, San Lorenzo, Bocca d’Orzo, Santo Spirito, Guardiola, and Feudo di Mezzo and, since the first vintage in 2002, has been vinifying them individually. From these vines, Marco makes an impressive range of wines (even a Rosato!), most of them from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. The most ancient and most prized soils here are those derived from leftover lava from the Ellitico eruption dating back 15,000 years ago. Largely covered by recent magma flows, only 2 tiny parcels are left sitting on pure Ellitico soils – the Calderara and San Lorenzo Crus.