Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Texas Turd-Floater in Passopisciaro (#Etna) Sicily

2014 has been a crazy year for weather patterns. There seems to be controversy brewing over the quality of the 2014 vintage in Italy. It’s too early to tell, but there are some things that have been happening that are not advantageous to the growers in Italy. One is the unseasonably cool weather in the summer. Another is accompanying rain. Doubtless there will be growers who will have great conditions, but the quantities are down. Here in Sicily, everyone is telling me their harvest is anywhere from 15-30% lower than last year. After two years of double digit increases, perhaps this year is Nature’s way of slowing down. Sicily is still a warm and sunny place, most of the time. But today, following a visit to the Tascante farms, we ran smack dab into a Texas turd-floater.

Harvest on Etna is underway but not in full-swing. Domenico D'Antoni at Tascante, near the town of Passopisciaro, said it will be a month in duration to harvest all their Nerello Mascalese. “We haven’t had rain for 90 days,” he said. “You brought us the rain we needed.” He seemed happy. Hopefully it will all work out, both here and all over Italy. The last thing we want is for farmers to suffer. But Nature is in charge.

There’s a great story in the American Scholar about Earth and how the planet really doesn’t even know (or care) we humans exist. We like to think our planet does, but why would it, when we treat it so cavalierly? On the road up to Mt. Etna today, trash is strewn everywhere. It is really heart breaking to see it. But in Texas, we are at ground-zero for the golden age of carbon, where the motto is “burn-baby-burn” regarding fossil fuel usage. I’m as guilty as the next guy.

Etna is a part of the world that is special and we should treat it like it is a Garden of Eden. The growers here sure love it.

The storm was a really doozy. Look over the pictures and pop open a bottle of Etna Rosso. If you want further reading on the subject, an article I wrote was just published on Wine Searcher, entitled What’s the Big Deal About Etna? 

Meanwhile the storm has subsided. But Etna is popping. Full moon, biblical storms and a very active volcano. Lots of fun on the wine trail in Italy today.

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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