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Poetic and lyrical

The re-birth of Sicilian wines

The Etna
Wine Road
Wine is the poetry breathed from the land. by Mario Soldati, Vino al vino

Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe and one of Italys most important natural attractions, dominates this road. It was Etna that gave its name to the first DOC recognised in Sicily in 1965, it is on its slopes that grapes are cultivated in characteristic terraces made from walls of volkanic rock and it is on its sides that ancient farm buildings and patrician villas stand in a landscape that is unique and fascinating.

Tenuta di Fessina

I' vigne di Fessina as people here defined the vineyards of the estate, are guarded by a magnificent tree, whose roots, like a snake, wrap around the
boundary wall of the hamlet of Rovittello and whose branches soar upwards towards the Nebrodi mountains. People call it Millicucco, the fascinating and hieratic guardian of the village. The most striking thing you can see when you lift your gaze up is a plume of smoke rising from the crater of the volcano, shaped like a gnome's hat, on top of the mountain. It has puffed for over 500,000, flowing with ash and lava stone which settle and spread over the course of the seasons, sometimes washed away by the rain, sometimes stirred up and covered by newly flowing lava, hidden for hundreds of year until Nature, patiently, once again begins to conquer the rock, creating irregular basins, small hollows which, when farmed properly, give wonderful fruit. 'I vigne di Fessina' are one of these natural basins, rich in the poverty of their soil. Between Linguaglossa and Randazzo you can find many of these basins which nourish the vineyards generously and patiently. Vineyards which produce strikingly individual wines, from special soils and microenvironments which make them unique. VIDEO:


The Palmento of Tenuta di Fessina, constructed in lava stone during the eighteenth century for the sole purpose of treading the grapes and fermenting the mosto (unfermented juice), was used for wine production until 2000. A peculiar characteristic in the manufacture of the Palmento, beyond the use of the lava stone, is to be constructed so as to have, in the vinification process, the force of gravity, without using any lifting equipment of the liquid. All the architectural features of its previous use have been left intact: the hall to the Palmento is spacious and full of signs of the old wine making production: the thick walls of the collectors for the mosto, the lava stone vats sunk into the floor to collect the mosto, the screw press. VIDEO:

"The fascination of wine lies here: in this irrational and changing vitality, not different from a living organism.
By Mario Soldati, "Vino al vino" In Sicily, the Tenuta di Fessina was purchased in 2007 by Silvia Maestrelli, her husband Roberto Silva and the agronimistoenologist Federico Curtaz. About 7 hectares of 80/100 years old vineyards of Nerello Mascalese on the Etna slopes. They fell in love with Sicily, land of extraordinary historical, cultural and natural beauty.

Silvia Maestrelli: Making wine for me means continuing a family tradition. Villa Petriolo at Cerreto Guidi (Florence, Tuscany) belongs to my family since 1960. Identity is important, and it is tied to our territory of origin, that is the Montalbano hills, rich in culture and history. At Tenuta di Fessina she would like to give a new interpretation to Sicilian wines. Their objective is elegance; the protagonist is the terroir, Sicily, with its land and vineyards, its sun and the colors of its dawns and sunsets. VIDEO: Federico Curtaz: He defines himself humanist of wine, because wine is sign and expression of civilization, it contains the memory of men and reflects their complexity. In a bottle of wine there are the souls of the man and the place that have generate it. I believe that working in the vineyards is a question of balances. What is important is the soil, with its potentialities, its qualities but also its limits. We have to respect nature, without trying to modify it. Born in Valle dAosta, he has been living in Piedmont for a long time, working in the wine sector for more than twenty years. He studied as Agriculture technician and then attended refresher and specialization courses in Italy and abroad. He worked for many years at Gaja in Piedmont. With the purchase of Tenuta di Fessina Federico, now 50 years old, has entered a new phase of his life. Tenuta di Fessina is the deepest experience for me. The Etna has been a discovery. There, among the rocks that evoke my origins in Val dAosta, I feel at home. VIDEO:

Sicily, fatigue and passion

Sicilian viticulture
It is not possible to talk of a Sicilian viticulture but only of many types of viticulture with deep roots in the past which find expression today first and foremost in the men who, often unconsciously, interpret grapes and their transformation in their agricultural practices. In a epoch in which the value of a wine is increasingly correlated with the communicative value of a certain territorial context, Sicily puts its trust in the viticulture of individual companies and of their men which have relaunched Mediterranean type wines, trusting in the primary role of terroir in the communication of quality. But what modulates diversity is the viticultural landscape but those which are cultural and mental. In the wines of no other region is the maker as recognisable as in those of Sicily. The history of Sicilian wines is thus a tale of light and dark, of knowledge and ignorance, of serenity and passion, not on a human but on a mythical scale. A history that would be of no interest had it not had it not been born of an encounter between West and East, and if the West, in order to recreate itself in accordance with the model of rationality thet the Greeks had just minted, had not employed several centuries to remove the East, forcing it into that secret, esoteric existence whose traces are perceptible in mysticism, in the kabala, in heresy, in poetry and in the folklore of a Sicilian culture that is kaleidoscopic in its variousness.

Sicily is an island with well defined coasts. It is a bridge which unites two continents: Europe in the western Mediterranean, at the Italian end, and Africa in the eastern Mediterranean. After the exceptional experience at the Fessina estate, Silvia and Federico discovered other part of the marvelous golden garden that is Sicily, Noto.

Etna DOC
The area of production of these wines is dominated by the imposing presence of Etna, of whose power lava flows are a costant reminder, and on whose slopes viticulturalists have long cultivated grapes utilizing terraces created for the purpose.

The soil is very fertile and riche in mineral salts; the microclimate is unique whit great jumps in temperature. Nerello Mascalese is the dominant red grape. It yields ruby red wines whit a vinous perfume which are fresh-tasting and fairly well structured, often suited to ageing, thanks to which they can assume a more significant character. The wine is elegant, possessed of great personality and on the tannic side.
Nerello Cappuccio aka Mantellato is an autochtonous grape cultivated principally on the slopes of Etna in the province of Catania, at between 350 and 900 metres above sea level. Its name derives from the singular appearance of the plant when alberello trained: it hides its grapes from view as if under a cloak. Of unknown origin, the grape has bee present on the slopes of Etna, together whit Nerello Mascalese, though in small percentages (15/20%), for hundreds of years. In recent decades it has been increasingly abandoned by viticulturists, to the extent of risking extinction.Vinified whit Nerello Mascalese it produces a long lasting wine and is utilized in the creation of DOC ETNA. Vinified alone it yields a fruity, early-drinking wine, suitable for medium ageing. Carricante and Catarratto are the most widespread white grapes and give origin to drinking wines which go well with traditional fish dishes.

Our vineyards
Etna is a special place. Visiting Etna helps you to understand just how small Man is. Etna re-dimensions us. A mountain which changes every day, just like us. Each day ash comes out, some dust, some spluttering of smoke. And the landscape visibly changes. This smoke brings new land to the mountain, which grows and regenerates itself. It is very similar to the process which all of us experience every day.
Etna is very fortunate in that it has three or four native grape varieties, principally Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Minnella. The saplings are grown with a central trunk, from which grow three or four short branches, renewed each year for the production. They are supported by a chestnut tutor to which the trunk and the annual vegetation is tied, which constitutes the structure of the vine. Cultivation is quite simple. During Winter the planting is done, as well as replacing the chestnut poles. During Spring the pruning takes place, which leaves six or seven shoots, the cleaning of the grass is done with small mowers and by hand, and in late July there is the thinning out and de-leafing. The bushes are shaped by time, pruned by various generations: sometimes they are strong and erect, other times they are contorted and twisted.

Nerello Mascalese. Golden wedding. Couples for over fifty years

Nerello Mascalese, The big old tree. 120 years old





With Tenuta di Fessina we are trying to bring the most out of the marriage of tradition and territory, as part of our strong desire that land and work emerge in the drinking glass. Protecting our identity is the only real way in which we can defend the excellence of Sicilian wine against the danger of imitations.

The farm manager, Nino Farfaglia, who personally maintains the vineyard year-round, was born in the home overlooking it and has tended these vines since boyhood.

Tenuta di Fessina, artisanal winegrowing

On Etna old grape varieties can be found, some of which date back centuries, mostly planted by traditional ancient methods as saplings (two or three branches per plant with a spur carrying two buds) with a high density of vines per hectare (6,000/9,000 stumps per hectare). It is artisanal winegrowing, as in Valtellina, as in Valle della Mosella, and in Valle del Reno. Variable slopes, and widespread terracing sustain authentic rocky pearls: on these little terraces mostly grow Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante. Etnas layered landscape is unique, a kind of precious dynamic historical archive. Continuous shelving on top of each other, held up by dry black walls made of stones and lava streams given up by the sifting land, sinuous pathways, mounds of stones, which, through their original form and their colours highlighting the various colour tones of the grape varieties, characterise the whole region. VIDEO:

Tenuta di Fessina, a conscious agriculture

I believe that working in the vineyards is a question of balances. What is important is the soil, with its potential, its qualities, but also its limits. We have to respect nature, without trying to modify it
(Federico Curtaz) Spanning the slopes of Mt. Etna, Italys largest active volcano, Tenuta di Fessina is a remarkably unique Sicilian winery. Founded in 2007 by winemaker Silvia Maestrelli, her husband Roberto Silva, and winemaker Federico Curtaz, the Fessina Estate is located in Rovittello, a small, picturesque village in the heart of Castiglione di Sicilia. The spectacular Fessina estate lies in the shadows of Mt. Etna, Europes largest active volcano, which adds to the mystique of this incredible property. Given its distinct location, the terroir of the vineyards is composed of centuries-old lava deposits, which yield strikingly individual wines that are in a class by themselves. In addition to the main estate, the winery includes two additional vineyards, a tribute to Sicilys incredibly fertile, beautiful landscape. The Segesta vineyard is dedicated to the Nakone, Fessinas elegant Chardonnay, while the Val di Noto is the source of the Nero DAvola grapes used to create the rich, sensual Ero Rosso wine. In essence, Tenuta di Fessina is a testament to the beauty and splendor of its surroundings: the magnificence of the region is reflected in the wines. (By Winebow)

Our Etna wines

At the moment we are witnessing in Sicily a re-birth of poetic and lyrical wines, which consciously relate the strong identity of this land, its sunshine and its heat, the colours of the land, of its dawns and sunsets, its well-known locations and those still to be discovered, defined by its elegance. Today the nouvelle vague of Sicilian wines represents a search for something new, a new interpretation of Sicilian wine. Extreme maturations, emphasising alcoholic stoutness, and diluted colours are features that are now out of date. Instead verticality and rigour are the basis of Sicilian style that is becoming known around the world.

Il Musmeci, DOC Etna Rosso, Nerello Mascalese

This cru wine is dedicated to the Musmeci family, in particular Mr. Ignazio Musmeci, who, for so many years, has taken care of the vineyards (I vigne di Fessina) with so much love that today the winery is able to cultivate 80/100 year old vines. This wine is made from Nerello Mascalese, from the oldest vines, grown on the highest hills. Il Musmeci is a concentrated dark ruby with clear and mature fruity notes, a marked minerality and incomparable vitality. It has fresh, clear and enticing floral and spice aromas, and on the palate is full of sweetness with hints of oak. Strong and austere yet integrated tannins lead to an enjoyable finish. Best served with roast lamb and semi matured cheeses.

IL MUSMECI, Etna DOC Rosso, Nerello Mascalese. Production area: Etna, Contrada Rovittello; evolution: 14/16 months in steel and wood (36 hl large barrel and tonneaux); Alcohol content:13,5/14; yearly average production: 10/15.000 75 cl. bottles and 500 1,5 l. magnum bottles; packs: 6 x 75 cl. and 500 1,5 l. magnum bottles. Our "cru" company, selected each year from the best grapes of the vineyard at Fessina.

Mr. Musmeci and Nino Farfaglia. Who, on Mount Etna, has not sent the vineyards in smoke ...

Nerello Mascalese has a rather late maturation, and has an elongated bunch often with an offshoot. This variety is substantially a grape with a skin that is very thin and almost pink in colour, which is very similar to Nebbiolo and is closely associated with Pinot Noir in its chemical characteristics of anthocyanin present in the skin. According to recent research by Rocco Di Stefano, the composition of anthocyanin of this variety is characterised by the absence of the family of acylated anthocyanins, as is the case with Pinot Noir. At the moment it seems that Nerello Mascalese and Pinot Noir are the only grapes in the world to have this characteristic.

Awards Il Musmeci

Il Musmeci vintage 2007 is awarded Tre Bicchieri Verdi, top prize of Guide The wines of Italy Gambero Rosso and Eccellenza, highest award of L Espresso Guide (considered to be the strictest selection of Italian top wines, with half the number of top awards given compared to the others Italian wine guides).

Il Musmeci of Tenuta di Fessina, 2008 vintage, for Guida ai migliori vini dItalia, by Ian DAgata and Massimo Claudio Comparini, is one of 100 best Italian wines
Il Musmeci vintage 2009 wins the CORONA (the crown), highest award of Guida ViniBuoni dItalia 2013, Touring Wine Guide.


TENUTA DI FESSINA Il Musmeci Etna Rosso 2009 93+ points. Sweet red cherries, flowers and mint are all woven together in the 2009 Etna Rosso Il Musmeci. The Musmeci is one of the most gracious, elegant and complete wines I taste from the Etna this year. It possesses breathtaking purity and delineation, with phenomenal balance and no sense of excess heaviness whatsoever. The 2009 will be a fascinating wine to follow over the next decade, give or take. The Musmeci is 95% Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello Cappuccio that spent 15 months in cask and tonneaux (The Wine Advocate #205, February 28, 2013) These are without question the finest wines I have tasted from Tenuta di Fessina, a new estate that is moving in the right direction. Federico Curtaz, who made his name managing Angelo Gajas vineyards is the winemaker. Tenuta di Fessina is one of the most exciting emerging properties in the Etna landscape. (by Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate #205, February 28, 2013) TENUTA DI FESSINA Il Musmeci Etna Rosso 2008 94 points. Named for the Musmeci family, who farmed the Contrada Rovittelo Vineyard, sustaining vines that date back to 1920, this is a selection from the oldest vines at that site, 2,200 feet above sea level. Impressive for the precision of its tannins, the mouthwatering sea-air freshness of its acidity, this is a concentrated, potent wine that emphasizes elegance. The tarry scent unpacks into earthy detail, lasting on a cool zesty harmony (Wine & Spirits, June 2013, Reviewed in Years Best Southern Italy)

ERSE, Etna DOC Rosso, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio

Production area: Etna, Contrada Rovittello; evolution: in stainless steel at controlled temperature; alcohol content: 13.5/14; yearly average production: 20.000/25.000 75 cl. bottles. An elegant wine, vibrant, true picture of the classic wines of Etna, with the peculiarity of the territory and the local varieties.

Erse is the name of the goddess of the dew; goddess of the call of the sunrise and the dew on the vines and grapes at dawn. Made from 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio harvested in October. The wine is fermented in stainless steel for eight to 10 days, macerated for two to three days with two to three pumpovers daily. Erse is a delicate, textured red which reveals gorgeous inner perfume and a silky core of fruit in a medium-bodied style. A very elegant and feminine wine. Pair this wine with sauted meat and spinach or fish with spicy tomato sauce.


- Etna Rosso Erse 2010 is a splendid introduction to the complex terroir of the Etna (Slow Wine 2012). - Pleasant also the fragrant Etna Rosso Erse 10 (Nerello Mascalese e Cappuccio) (Gambero Rosso 2012). - Nice also Erse, from younger vineyards. We will follow the continuous improving of this wine in the years (Guida ai migliori vini dItalia by Ian DAgata and Massimo Claudio Comparini) - We tasted Erse, one of the two Etna doc of the winery: the 2010 vintage is fruity and spicy, but it is still young (Vini Buoni dItalia 2012, Touring Guide). - ERSE 2010 of Tenuta di Fessina wins the Five Stars of Guida Vini di Sicilia 2012: Born in Contrada Rovittello on the Etna slopes, the wine is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio: Erse fascinates at the sight. It has an intense ruby red color. It is a fresh and fragrant wine. It has a catchy finesse and a crescendo of harmonic nuances. Evolution from cherry to wild berries. In the mouth confirms the olfactory sensations. Full-bodied and silky, it satisfies the taste (Guida Vini di Sicilia 2012, in the Giornale della Sicilia, by Fabrizio Carrera and Gianni Giardina). - Tenuta di Fessina Etna Rosso Erse 2009 88 points: Sweet candied cherries, crushed flowers, spices and anise are some of the notes that emerge from the 2009 Etna Rosso Erse. This pretty, feminine red is quite typical of the wines of the Etna (The Wine Advocate Issue 195, June 30, 2011; Exploring the Best of Central and Southern Italy by Antonio Galloni) - I also like the Erse Etna Rosso 2011, its nose of Morello cherry, black and red licorice, fennel seed, and cumin accompanied by both a light spritz and sediment. (Spring Release Report/Northern Italy, Sommelier Journal, by Tom Hyland) TENUTA DI FESSINA Erse Etna Rosso 2010 92 points. The 2010 Etna Rosso Erse emerges from the glass with sweet red cherries, crushed flowers, spices and mint, all in a medium-bodied style that is hugely appealing. Firm yet harmonious tannins frame the vibrant finish. The Erse is that rare wine that manages to be intense yet not at all heavy. In that sense it captures many of the elements that make the wines of the Etna so compelling. The 2010 is 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio, aged in stainless steel (The Wine Advocate #205, February 28, 2013) TENUTA DI FESSINA Erse Etna Rosso 2009 92 points. This blend nerello mascalese (80 percent) and nerello cappuccio from a vineyard planted in 1920. Its fermented and aged in stainless steel, though the tannins are powerful enough to create the richness oak aging might bring to the wine. The deep raspberry flavors feel supple, their juiciness held tight by mouthwatering acidity. A refined expression of Etna, approachable now if decanted (Wine & Spirits, June 2013, Reviewed in Years Best Southern Italy)

LAENEO, IGT Sicilia, Nerello Cappuccio 100%

Production area: Santa Maria di Licoda; evolution: in stainless steel at controlled temperature; alcohol content: 12,5/13 yearly average production: 3.500/4.500 75 cl. bottles. It a real taste for the whim of the fans, this limited production Nerello Cappuccio pure, fragrant rare Etna.

We are still student of this marvelous land. Nerello cappuccio, one of the two variety which they made our Etna rosso had been a great surprise for us. The vines lies beside the Carricante vineyard, same altitude and south exposure, where little grapes ripe late in the fall, giving us a fresh, juicy spicy wine. Just steel tank fermentation to save fruit, a simple drinkable seductive wine that match extremely well whit roasted meat an d pastas, few fascinating bottles, for curious gentle men and gentle women. VIDEO:


TENUTA DI FESSINA Laeneo Sicilia 2011 91 points. A fabulous entry-level red, the 2011 Nerello Cappuccio Laeneo bursts from the glass with expressive dark fruit, violets, menthol, flowers and licorice. This unoaked, juicy Nerello Mascalese is a great choice for drinking now and over the next few years (The Wine Advocate #205, February 28, 2013)

A' PUDDARA, Etna Bianco DOC, Carricante 100%

Production area: Santa Maria di Licoda; evolution: 6 months in oak barrels; alcohol content: 12,5/13; yearly average production: 3.500/4.500 75 cl. bottles and 100 1,5 l. magnum bottles. It a white wine of great acidity, from cutting edge and precise as are the soil from which it originated. A Puddara, DOC Etna Bianco..

The name is related to the Pleiades constellation, that appear in the night right over the vineyard. The wine is made from 100% Carricante, issued by a 45 year old vines 3000 feet. Bush trained vines, planted on rocky sandy black soil. Big cask, 3.5 tons, hold the wine since fermentation, and he ripe eight month before be bottled. The wine age around 10 to 12 month in bottle before to be released. Elegant, with a precise acidic silhouette, it remind a little bit a Riesling, could age easily many, many years, prefere oysters and fish foods, but the great personality of this wine give lot of chance to pair wiyh many foods. VIDEO:

Awards A Puddara

A Puddara vintage 2009 and 2010 is awarded Tre Bicchieri Verdi, top prize of Guide The wines of Italy Gambero Rosso and Eccellenza, highest award of L Espresso Guide (considered to be the strictest selection of Italian top wines, with half the number of top awards given compared to the others Italian wine guides). A Puddara (vintage 2009 and vintage 2010) has been inserted among the Grandi Vini (great wines) of the SLOW WINE, the guide edited by Slow Food. Grandi Vini means the best bottles as regards the organoleptic profile.


TENUTA DI FESSINA APuddara Bianco Etna 2010 91 points. The 2010 Etna Carricante A Puddara bristles with energy and pure class. Lemon, white flowers and crushed rocks emerge in the glass, but ultimately the 2010 is all about textural elegance and sheer class. This is a stunningly beautiful wine that captures the essence of Carricante. The energetic, salineinfused finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste (The Wine Advocate #205, February 28, 2013) TENUTA DI FESSINA A Puddara Etna Bianco 2010 92 points. Founded in 2007, this estate is a partnership between two winemakers, Silvia Maestrelli and Federico Curtaz. Their carricante grows at a vineyard planted in 1970, those mature bush vines producing a bright, spicy white with clean flavors of nectarine. Its crisp and lithe, the texture enriched with the light feel of fresh cream (Wine & Spirits, June 2013, Reviewed in Years Best Southern Italy).

Tenuta di Fessina on "The world of Sicilian wine", by Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino (University of California Press, 2013).
()The important wine here is Il Musmeci Etna DOC Rosso, named in honor of the old owner-grower who sold the property to Tenuta di Fessina. (). Curtaz describes his Nerello Mascalese as a vertical wine, bridging the structure of Nebbiolo and the silk and spice of Pinot Noir. It is, he says, a modern-style wine with backbone ("nerbo" in Italian). A new initiative as of the 2009 vintage is an Etna Bianco, A' Puddara, sourced from a thousand-meter-high (3.281 foot-high) vineyard on the southwest flank of Etna in the vicinity of Santa Maria di Licoda. Curtaz put its Carricante juice in a new thirty-four hectoliter (898 gallon) oak barrel, allowing native yeasts to carry to fermentation. The big barrel exerts less of an influence on the finished wine, letting the pear and straw aromas emerge. In the mouth, astringency follows the initial acidity, giving the wine length and the structure to potentially age well in bottle. Curtaz calls himself and Maestrelli "student of Etna". He communicates a genuine attachment to this unique vinicultural zone. For Curtaz, the challenge for Sicilian winegrowers is to find and express their own identity, "to rediscover the pureness of their raw material and place".

Tenuta di Fessina future

The molten lava sank into the sea. And the water clashed with the fire
Milo, an enchanting terrace on the lower Ionic coast, is the other beating heart of Fessina, where Carricante 100% is produced from century-old grapevines for the wine Etna DOC Bianco Superiore Il Musmeci. Milo was born on the volcanic landslides that fell into the sea some 10,000-15,000 years ago: the dark lands of Milo are made up of a mixture of detritus in many differentiated layers, produced by the decay of the volcano and an extraordinarily rich source of nutrients for the grapevines. Also grown by the method alberello, Carricante has a high acidity that makes it suitable for the refinement in wood and to the longterm conservation. In keeping with the best traditions of Etna for this variety of white grape, the fermentation of Carricante of Fessina takes place directly in large barrel. VIDEOS: _


Tenuta di Fessina Via Nazionale SS 120, n. 22 - 95012 Castiglione di Sicilia (CT) ITALY WEBSITE: WWW.CUNTU.IT EMAIL: SILVIAMAESTRELLI@TENUTADIFESSINA. COM IVIGNEDIFESSINA@GMAIL.COM MOB.: +393357220021

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