Pietradolce was established in 2005 and found its home in Solicchiata, located in the Northern slopes of Mount Etna. The vineyards extend over an area of 11 hectares at a height of between 600 and 900 feet above sea level. Wines are normally produced from Pre-Phylloxera vines of about 80-130 years old (bushy shape). Pietradolce follow criteria of organic agriculture and all the operations are conducted by hand. At Pietradolce they only use the traditional varieties of Carricante for white and Nerello Mascalese for red. However, there is a little Nerello Cappuccio mixed in with the Mascalese. Michele describes Mascalese as fine and elegant.
Why Pietradolce? 1. Pietradolce’s Location: Pietradolce is located on Mount Etna, which is Europe’s highest volcano, soaring up to 10,990 feet
2. Pietradolce’s Soil: Mount Etna has wonderful volcanic soil, rather stony, light, sandy loam, with plentiful mineral elements from volcano, a generous gift from the volcano and which gives the wines special characteristics, and makes them with extraordinary richness, minerality, fragrance and depth. Etna's rich volcanic soil also contains a high concentration of sand, a combination that has proved to be highly resistant to the phylloxera root pest that decimated other European vineyards in the late 1800's. Vineyards throughout Europe were wiped out for an extended period by the phylloxera root louse but Etna's vineyards with their volcanic, sandy soil were spared.
3. Pietradolce’s Altitude: Such high-elevation vineyards present some unique problems for vintners. The steeply-sloped, terraced vineyards are difficult to navigate with mechanical equipment so most of the tending and harvesting of the vines has to be done by hand, a time-consuming and expensive proposition. That's reason why they production average are about 35000 bottles per year.
4. Burgundy of Italy: The altitude is considerable that making wine for particularly fragrant and focused aromas due to wide diurnal range of 15 degrees at night up to 35 degrees in the day means that they get the slow, aromatic development without heat stress. Such temperature variations work to the benefit of grapes in that it not only facilitates berry growth and coloration but also promotes complexity in grape flavors. This is why Etna is called the ‘Burgundy’ of Italy.
Region/Country: Sicily, Italy
Rating: 92 Points by Robert Parker
Tasting Note: This is delicate but very deep with strawberries, spices and cedar. Full body, with a dense palate, beautiful fruit and a firm tannin structure. This is really corseted with beautiful acidity. Wonderful length. Turns to plums and cedar. Wonderful. A blend of grapes from two sites: one with 40 years of age and another with 80 years of age. Latter is pre-phyloxera. Drink now or hold.