The grapes to produce the “Urra di Mare” Mandrarossa were hand harvested in early August. After being crushed and destemmed, the must was immediately cooled to 5-8°C, and maintained at these temperatures for four to six hours. The resulting must was then softly pressed and the juice obtained was clarified at a low temperature for 36 hours. The clear must was fermented in stainless-steel tanks for 15-20 days at 16-18°C. The wine was aged for four months in the bottle before release.
The vineyards for this wine are located in the area around Menfi on the south-western coast of Sicily. Vines grow on south and south-west facing hills at 80-350 metres above sea level on clay soil. Vines are Guyot trained and planted at a density of 4,000-4,500 plants per hectare.
The Mandrarossa wines come from a selection of the best sites from Cantine Settesoli’s 6,000 hectares of vineyard, situated in southwestern Sicily and planted with 32 different grape varieties. The vineyards are split between the 2,000 members of the co-op, and cover the area around Selinunte, the hauntingly beautiful ruins of a Greek town founded 2,600 years ago. Cantine Settesoli helps to support the restoration of this archaeological site. First produced in 1999, Mandrarossa is about to open its own winery as it becomes increasingly focused on single-site wines. Working with soil specialist Pedro Parra and head winemaker Mimmo De Gregorio, Alberto has selected 500 hectares of vineyard, from 160 growers, for the production of the Mandrarossa wines. These vineyards are situated close to the sea, where intense sunlight, moderating sea breezes, mild temperatures, multiple elevations and a myriad of different soil types combine to give the quality of grapes that Mimmo and Alberto are looking for. Pedro has singled out limestone as the soil with the highest potential for quality wines. At the top of the hierarchy are the wines made from single sites, 75 hectares from 37 growers that have been selected by Pedro’s vineyard mapping. Their ‘Cartagho’, from a sandy vineyard in the Torrenova ‘contrada’ that is regarded as the best source of Nero d’Avola, is the iconic Mandrarossa wine, having won ‘Tre Bicchieri’ six times in recent years. The Timperosse (made solely from Petit Verdot) has also won ‘Tre Bicchieri’.