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Details for Costanza di Mineo, Cor Leon, Petit Verdot

AppellationTerre Siciliane
Calatrasi Mediterranean Domains
(click to find out more)


Sicily is today the fourth-largest wine-producing region of Italy, which is itself the largest producer in Europe. A decade or two ago Sicily was far and away the largest producer in the country. Yet the island was known chiefly for hot, over-baked bulk wines and Marsala - Italy's answer to sherry. Much of its vast output was distilled into brandy or industrial alcohol.
Much has changed: Sicily is now Italy's most innovative wine region. Partly this is due to the absence of prestigious appellations, which has allowed Sicilian winemakers freedom to experiment. International varieties like Shiraz flourish here, often blended with local grapes like the Nero d'Avola. Other winemakers have championed Sicily's unique local varieties: the red Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and aforesaid Nero d'Avola, and the white Catarrato, Grillo and Carricante.
Sicily's mountainous terrain is key to this transformation. Low-lying areas are scorchingly hot but altitude changes everything, providing a bewildering array of different microclimates. Despite the differences in temperature, everywhere in Sicily is dry so vine disease is not a problem.
Sicily’s best known red variety is its native Nero d’Avola, a rich and intensely flavoured grape that is grown everywhere but is most revered around Agrigento in the south. Another red gaining a reputation is the fragrant and tannic Nerello Mascalese, which is confined to the high-altitude, cool-climate areas on and around Mount Etna in the northeast.
The white Cataratto and Grillo were the main grapes of Marsala, but today are being used to produce increasingly interesting dry whites. Grecanico is another white that has developed a following, though it isn't as local as was once thought - recent DNA profiling has shown it's identical to the Garganega used to produce Soave in Italy's northeast.

Calatrasi Mediterranean Domains

Calatrasi Mediterranean Domaines is a large Sicilian-based wine producer that sells its wines under the brand names Costanza di Mineo, Terre di Ginestra and Accademia del Sole.  The company name itself is a recent rebranding of family-owned Casa Vinicola Calatrasi, based in San Cipirello near Palermo.
The Miccichè family who founded the Calatrasi winery in 1980 had been growing vines and making wine in the area for centuries.  Their brand names reflect that long history.  Terre di Ginestra is mostly used for wines from vineyards in the Ginestra hills that were bought by the family in 1968.
Costanza and Mineo are names of other local winemaking families who married into the Miccichè clan in the 1950s and 1920s respectively.  Both were from nearby Corleone and so the Costanza di Mineo label is used for wines from the high-altitude (600m to 1100m) vineyards around Corleone that were acquired in 1992.
Three Australian flying winemakers were recuited in 2000 to guide the transition towards export markets.  At the same time the company expanded beyond Sicily with the founding of Tunisian winery Domaine Neferis, and two years later it acquired vineyards and set up a winery near Brindisi in Puglia, on the Italian mainland.
Most of their Sicilian vineyards are planted with native varieties like Nero d'Avola, Catarrato and Grillo, but they also produce Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

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