The Etna Rosso DOC Benanti is produced with Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio which are vinified seperately in stianless steel using indigenous yeasts, with a maceration of about 15 days. After malolactic fermentation, 20% of the Nerello Mascalese is aged in French oak barriques for eight to ten months, with the rest of the wine maturing in stainless steel. Followed by a further 3 months of bottle refinement.
Like most Etnean varieties, the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes are late ripening due to the range in diurnal temperature and the cooling effect of their high location at about 600 meters above sea level on the Northern slopes of the volcano.
The Benanti winery was founded in 1988 by Giuseppe Benanti, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur from Catania who decided to turn his family’s long standing traditional passion into an ambitious and challenging new venture. Wine had been produced by the family for several generations, mostly for private consumption, until Giuseppe finally decided to establish the winery with the aim of preserving the unique terroir of Etna’s volcanic slopes, whilst cherishing and developing the indigenous Etnean varieties. The winery is now run by Giuseppe’s two sons Antonio and Salvino who have continued the original aim to respect the varietal characteristics of the Etnean varieties, by adopting and maintaining a very traditional approach and philosophy. Describing their wines as ‘slow wines’, the brothers ensure nothing is rushed in Benanti winemaking; they are committed to producing only high quality wines from vineyards located on different slopes of Mount Etna, so as to highlight the uniqueness of the many different terroirs within the Etna DOC region. The family now owns vineyards in different DOC areas to the north, south, and east of the Etnean massif allowing them to produce an intriguing range of wines from the indigenous varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante and Minnella. The area provides a unique microclimate due partly to the proximity to the sea, partly to the volcanic soil and also to the cone-shaped surface of the slopes which provide excellent exposure to the sun. The sea breezes and the altitude ensure the grapes are cooled in what would otherwise be a very hot climate, and therefore the ripening process reaches its full potential but, crucially, without being rushed. Benanti is considered both an iconic producer and a pioneer that has set a very high standard and has certainly inspired other wineries. With a history of 22 harvest seasons on Etna, Benanti has worked every day with an ever-increasing passion to perfect the presentation of Etna both as a land and a community, and its native grape varieties.