Recommendations · Wine

Phil’s Weekend Wine Tip: Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2015 (O’Brien’s €21.95)


With literally thousands of indigenous varieties of grapes to make wine from, Italy has an embarrassment of riches in their vineyards.

One of the areas re-establishing its name is Sicily. The island has a variety of not just grapes, but also soils and general terroir to choose from. Being so far south can have the problem of stifling heat that can actually cook the grapes, so to counter this growers go higher to take advantage of the cooler temperatures at altitude.

Mount Etna, in the east of the island, offers such altitude and growers are braving the slopes and eruptions – Etna is still very active – for its volcanic soil and cooling temperatures that can help grapes to retain their acidity in a hot climate. It is its own DOC and has its own communes, which are broken down further into contrada or sub regions. The DOC of this wine is Etna Bianco as the Carricante grape is from the Etna region. There is also an Etna Bianco Superiore that must be made in the commune of Milo, within the Etna DOC.

This Alta Mora wine from the Cusumano winery in Sicily is made from the Carricante grape, which is native to the area. A full bodied wine with flavours and aromas of stone fruit, complimented by string citrus such as lemon, lime and grapefruit. This is the result of plating at 1200m above sea level and retaining the acidity that would have been lost, had the grapes been planted t the foot of Etna. This causes the fruit to dance across your palate and while the fruit flavours pack a punch, the freshness keeps you sipping away. A very well made wine that has an excellent balance and well worth a look at.

Pairing it with food? I would suggest a meaty fish, such as monkfish or skewered scallops and white pudding.


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