Wines: Zottorinoto Riserva 2011 – Cottanera

Wines: Zottorinoto Riserva 2011 – Cottanera
12 December 2015 Francesco Pensovecchio

Five districts, like five fingers of the same hand


A hand ravaged by work with the black earth of the volcano, vigorous as it carries out the tiring work of cultivation, and yet delicate in protecting the vine and its grapes.

These lands have been farmed since 2011, and Cottanera has decided to enhance the singularity of its five vineyards with an ambitious project, that of making a unique wine from the essence of these five lands: Cottanera, Diciassette Salme, Calderara, Zottorinoto and Feudo di Mezzo. It was in 2011 that Mariangela, Francesco and Emanuele Cambria, children of the company founder, Guglielmo, together with their uncle, Enzo, decided that the moment had come to bring to light the differences which each, small, prized district of Etna gives to Nerello Mascalese. Thus, the first Riserva of Cottanera was born: Etna Rosso Riserva Contrada Zottorinoto.

Here, between 780 and 820 metres above sea level, on a clear day you can see the Ionian Sea, far off from the slopes of the volcano lined with rows of vines, but which still lingers in the air, blowing from the coast towards the mountain. Francesco has a clear recollection of the acquisition, in 2000, of the Zottorinoto vineyard – the only detached piece of land from the central company lands – by his father and his uncle: “They were looking for a clone of Nerello Mascalese, which they considered the quintessential expression of an Etna red. It was a long quest, to find a vine with a biotype that produced bunches in thinner clusters and with smaller grapes, but it finally came to an end when they found these 4 hectares of Nerello, with which all the vines of our company were then grafted.

In Zottorinoto, the vines, which are approximately 50 years old and spread out over four hectares, are rooted in a typical, black lava soil, where the ash of Mt. Etna lightly covers the rows of vines, planted espalier or gobelet, depending on the exposure, slope and altitude.

Our Special Reserve Zottorinoto is made from grapes from the old bush vines, named after the district it comes from, and created by Guglielmo; only the best grapes are harvested for this wine. Just 1978 bottles of Riserva Zottorinoto were produced in 2011, a rare gem preserved in large barrels for two years, and bottled for a further two years. The intensity and depth of an Etna Rosso which draws its force from the land of the volcano are combined with the unique note of dark-red, crisp grapes which release a whole range of floral notes, with a trace of balsamic, Mediterranean herbs. This rich, spicy wine draws its vitality from the heart of the earth, which spreads out under the sun, characterized by a well-defined, yet delicate tannin, in a perfect, harmonious balance of freshness and body.

premi cottanera