From one dormant volcano and one active one, both these wines show that typical saltiness and minerality associated with wines grown on volcanic soils.
The Anydrous Assrytiko from Santorini comes from old ungrafted vines (woven into a basket shape, a bit like a bird’s nest to give protection from the strong winds and allow dew formation in the early morning in the very arid climate). The grapes are pressed in a vertical basket press, fermented with the natural yeasts and aged on the lees for 9 months. It is all wet stone, citrus and thyme with a haunting smokiness and that characteristic salty feel and finish.
The Etna Bianco from Tenuta delle Terre is less linear, with more yellow fruit such as pear, quince and guava as well as some rosemary and almond notes and, of course, the salty finish. It is an intriguing field blend featuring predominantly Carricante, grown on dry stone wall contained terraces on the northern side of Etna at an altitude of 600-700 m. One of Italy’s paradoxes: some of the coolest vineyards overlook the hottest town on Sicily, Catania.
The perfect accompaniment was very thinkly sliced pancetta, marinated octopus, mushroom vinaigrette, pumpkin mousse and kohlrabi gel.