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il carricante: alice bonaccorsi e rosario pappalardo

by ssilvestori on August 24, 2012

I had heard about Alice Bonaccorsi’s carricante long before I started bicycling up Sicily’s Mount Etna, the active volcano on the eastern part of the island. Lately, the white grape has been turning up on more and more top lists, including 3 of my favourite sommeliers and wine writers. An odd grape, it tastes of citrus, pink apples and bread, by which, it’s usually understood to mean ‘yeasty’, a tang and mineraly punch that you won’t soon forget.

Alice was away the day I visited but her husband Rosario couldn’t have been more gracious, or eager for me to taste their wines.

‘So many have either a ‘love’ or ‘hate’ relationship to carricante’, said Rosario. ‘And not because the grape is bad, but because it’s so atypical, especially when so much wine style has begun to mesh a bit, all around the world. Few know what to expect when tasting it’.

My nose down into the glass I find the perfumes that I expect, citrus and white river stones, yeast and a little wet earth, like rain glazed flowerpots.

‘Etna is such an engima’, he says as he sips his own wine. ‘The fact that the volcano is something of a cone, that the grapes ripen in horizontal rings around the base of the mountain, that carricante is such a litimus for the minerals in the soil, the ancient spewed lava that feel in irregular patterns. We’re 4th generation and only now starting to understand it’.

 

We spent the afternoon together, working our way through all of their wines, the winery’s dog circling and then laying at our feet for most of it. Rosario gave me a bottle as I peddled down the mountain, his carricante going beautifully with that night’s seafood, so fresh and minerally, still dripping with drops of pearly water, straight out of the strait of Messina.

Sicily’s carricante is one of the ‘Terronia Twelve’, the varietals that we’ve selected as the most important in getting to know the wine of Southern Italy: la Sicilia, la Calabria, la Basilicata and la Puglia. Click through to learn more about Terronia: the New Wine School of Southern Italy.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gioia Falcone August 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Silvestro,
Love your blogs, love the photo’s. In fact this morning your photos of Lecce during Natale was forwarded to a client who was considering a trip to Italy dopo Natale or a Carribean Cruise. Your photos just might be the convincing factor.
Looking forward to meeting you in October.
Joyce

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ssilvestori August 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

We’d love to have them! Make sure they are signed up to receive our food and wine content!

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Cynthia Nicholson August 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Silvestro,

I’m so excited to read about Alice and Rosario and their incredible wine. I conduct small group food and wine tours to Sicily and would love to visit their vineyard next month while I’m there. I usually stay in Linguaglossa so I’m not far from Randazzo. I would love to compare notes with you as far as your favorite wines and producers in the Etna region. I am also a big fan of Puglia and spent some very happy times there….I think its time for another visit! Any way I could email you directly?
Cynthia

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Benanti September 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

Fantastic blog, Silvestro. Love your style of writing!
Complimenti!

“Because Southern Italian wine isn’t a hobby for us, it’s who we are.” Cannot agree more!

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Carol MIMRAN March 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hello Sylvestro! While working on the computer trying to put together another road trip I’ll be taking with Sue and two other friends, I came upon this blog about carricante wine. It couldn’t have come at a better moment as we’re headed to Sicily this time! Would you have any suggestions about things that should absolutely not be missed or places to stay?
All the best, Carol

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ssilvestori March 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Carol, my favourite restaurant in Ragusa is Duomo, a world-class place (pricey but worth it). If you can be a little more specific I might be able to help.

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Carol MIMRAN March 20, 2013 at 9:58 am

Thanks, Sylvestro. We’ll be driving counter-clockwise around the island going to Monreale, Selinunte, Agrigento, and then east where we have no fixed plans…….Syracuse, Etna…..????

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ssilvestori March 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Carol,
pick up a guide book. Siracusa and Ortygia (the historical part of the island) Ragusa, Noto, Modica, Vittoria, there is an awful lot packed into such a small area. Etna is stunning, menancing. The south east of Sicily is easily one of the best parts of the planet.
S

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