Calderara Sottana’s soil is easily recognizable at first sight. Of all the crus of the Etna appellation, it is by far the stoniest. So much so, that in the most remarkable examples you cannot see the soil for the stones: fist-sized, lightweight, black volcanic pumice. The word Calderara is reminiscent of “caldera” or “cauldron”, probably since the black rocks hold the day’s heat through part of the night. The terroir in Contrada San Lorenzo originates from lava flows and volcanic deposits related to the effusive and explosive activity of the Ellittico eruptive centre, dating back to 60,000 to 15,000 years ago. Although very young by geological standards, the soils from the Ellittico eruption are the oldest superficial strata where one may plant. The reason is simple: millennia of lava flows have buried all older soils, leaving, in fact, only small and rare parcels of Ellittico soils. On the northern slopes of Etna, there are four or five Contrade that have terroir from the Ellittico. Three, however, have mixed soils, blending soil from Ellittico of igneous nature with alluvial soils of sedimentary nature due to the overflowing of the Alcantara river. Only two Contrade out of hundreds and hundreds are “pure” terroir Ellittico: Calderara and San Lorenzo. It is hence mentioned on the label to facilitate a distinction.
Fermentation is completed under a controlled temperature (28-30° C). Malolactic fermentation is spontaneous and ageing in French oak barriques and tonneaux for 16-18 months, followed by one month of ageing and stabilization in steel.
Locally the cru has an outstanding reputation. Our Calderara Sottana is a single vineyard wine produced only from vineyards between 50-100 years old. Of all our single-vineyard wines it is perhaps the most complete: much like a wide-angle lens encompasses the amplest panorama, so Calderara seems to contain and display the widest spectrum of flavours, bouquets, nuances. Floral and spicy, leathery and aromatic, it delivers a wonderful filling sensation on the palate, yet stepping lightly. Don Peppino, whose devotion to Calderara led him to work our vineyards for seventy years, best describes the wines of Calderara: they are “creamy”, he says. And he’s right. Poultry, red meats, game, pasta, pecorino and bread.