Extension of the vineyard: 1,5 ha
Yield per hectare: 3,5-4,5 tons/ha
Characteristics of the soil: volcanic, mixture of sand, pumice and volcanic ash
Exposure: northern slope of Mount Etna, 850-900 meters a.s.l.
Average age of the vines: between 50 and 70 years old
Type of cultivation: en goblet and modified en goblet
Harvest: second decade of October
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation under controlled temperature (28-30° C)
Aging: spontaneous malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak barriques, tonneaux. Bottling after 16-18 months of wood aging and 1 month in steel.
Colour: pale ruby with orange hues
Nose: complex, with a balsamic note reminiscent of Mediterranean wild herbs Flavour: most elegant, steely focus, tannic skeleton, sinewy rather than muscular Food matches: meat, seasoned cheese
Of the crus in which I own vineyards, Guardiola is the highest in elevation, ranging from 800 to almost 1,000 metres altitude. And, naturally, as one climbs higher, the soil becomes poorer. Guardiola being no exception, its make up being mostly lean volcanic sand and basaltic pebbles of sorts, with a little ash thrown in. And equally naturally, the slopes become steeper, the terracings narrower in order to compensate. Vineyard management all manual and singularly difficult. The altitude drives the acidity in the wine, the lean soil accentuates the tannins. Ripening is, therefore, of the essence. Production often lower. Guardiola is somehow particularly attractive. Always the tightest wine, the most difficult and sometimes askew when young, it still remains a favourite. It may be its focused intensity, the tension of a coiled spring; or the sense of austere purity it delivers; or the uniquely high-toned, almost stony bouquet. Or probably because all of the above together make for a wine of very powerful character. Of all crus it is the one requiring more time to release and relax. The sinew releases its tension just a bit, the tannins soften, the wine’s authority remains. Pork, steak, sausages, game, braised meats.