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  Wine Producers Issue 35, November 2005   
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Calatrasi

The history of a dream which turns into reality in Sicily with vineyards capable of producing 276 different varieties of grapes and from which are being produced modern wines with the richness of an ancient land

 The story of Calatrasi winery - located at San Cipirello, few kilometers south from Palermo, Sicily - born by the intuition of a physician who, after a journey in California, realizes his land, Sicily, would have been capable of offering the same. That physician is Dr. Maurizio Miccichè, today passionate viticulturist and owner of one of the most important wineries of Sicily. Everything originated after a journey in California where he learns about the managerial methods of wine making: an union of enology, viticulture and marketing which convinces him to do same in his land. That was how in 1985 Maurizio Miccichè decided to start in the Valle dello Jato a winery near the one of his father, with the aim of making a consumer friendly wine, capable of giving emotions to the senses of consumers. That dream did not end in Sicily, and soon after those concepts and that way of making wine, was extended in Apulia and in Tunisia as well, where today Calatrasi winery owns domains and vineyards.


Dr. Maurizio Miccichè, chairman of
Calatrasi
Dr. Maurizio Miccichè, chairman of Calatrasi

 Calatrasi winery was established in 1980 by Giuseppe and Maurizio Miccichè brothers - who inherited from their father the passion for the world of wine - who started one of the most dynamic wineries of Sicily, and their wines are now renowned both in Italy and in other countries of the world. The winery's headquarter is located at San Cipirello, south from Palermo - among the green hills of Valle dello Jato - with an acreage of 25,000 square meters, a bottling system producing 12,000 bottles per hour and a cellar with 4,000 barriques of French and American oak, producing about 8,000,000 bottles per year. Thanks to the expansion which took place from 1986 on - an investment on technology and qualified personnel - Calatrasi winery had in 2004 a total income of 13 millions of euros and distributing its wine in more than 22 countries in the world while becoming one of the most important wineries of Sicily.

 The project has been expanded, going beyond the borders of Sicily and arrived in Apulia and Tunisia. The family estates are all located in Sicily at Campofiorito, with 264 hectares near Corleone, at Campo della Ginestra, 100 hectares between Cipirello and Piana degli Albanesi and, finally, at Mazara del Vallo with vineyards of 150 hectares. In the estates located in Sicily are being cultivated both autochthonous varieties - such as Catarratto, Grillo and Nero d'Avola - as well as international varieties such as Viognier, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The estates in Apulia are located in the Salento area, with a fermentation cellar and 240 hectares of vineyards cultivated with Primitivo, Negroamaro, Syrah and Merlot grapes. The estate in Tunisia, called Domaine Neferis, is located between Tunis and Hammamet, has a cellar, a bottling plant and 200 hectares of vineyards cultivated with Carignan, Grenache Noir, Cinsaut, Syrah and Chardonnay grapes.


Domaine Neferis in Tunisia
Domaine Neferis in Tunisia

 With these premises born the project of Calatrasi winery, the one of realizing a cosmopolitan winery, not only in the richness of vineyards and of laboratories in which are being cultivated 276 different varieties of grapes, but also in the team of experts who work in the winery. Calatrasi is in fact supported by a team of expert agronomists and wine makers from many countries of the world, therefore becoming a pioneer of a new culture in the production of wine, where the ancient tradition of Sicily and south Italy offers its cultural heritage to advanced technology, meeting what is today called “the taste of the new world”. It is the will of realizing such a project which ensured Calatrasi the support of important wine professionals, such as Tamra Washington - in charge of wine production and wine quality control - the talented New Zealander wine maker who graduated in Wine and Vinification Science at Lincoln University, Canterbury (New Zealand), who then acquired experience in vinification and fermentation of wines in New Zealand, United States of America and Australia.

 Maurizio Miccichè's goal is to make quality wines capable of satisfying the need of a higher and higher number of consumers interested in the beverage of Bacchus. The productive and commercial philosophy of Calatrasi is summarized by Miccichè's words: «Even the ones who do not know anything about olfactory sensations and consistency, in front of a good glass no one should feel like an ignorant. Knowing the history of Charlemagne in order to recognize a French wine should not be necessary. We do not have noble titles to sell, we are happy not to have a catalog with elite products. We try our best in order to make a beverage which can be enjoyed with pleasure, offered at reasonable prices, ranging from 5 to 20 euros. We are ambassadors of a new south: this is how we want to introduce ourselves». A commercial philosophy which brought Calatrasi to sell its wines in every region of Italy, as well as in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Tunisia, Canada, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Norway, United States of America, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Brazil, India and Ireland. Cosmopolitan, even in distribution.


 

 Calatrasi's wine show in the glass their convincing quality, wines capable of attracting the senses of consumers, also thanks to the successful union between tradition and innovation. Of particular interest are the wines of the D'Istinto range, such as Magnifico d'Istinto - produced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah grapes - as well as the interesting and very good Ljetas d'Istinto, a pleasing white produced with Catarratto, Chardonnay and Viognier grapes. Also good the wines of the “historical” Terre di Ginestra range, in particular the ones belonging to the “651” branding, produced with grapes cultivated in vineyards at 651 meters of altitude. From the vineyards most exposed to the sun of Sicily, are being produced the wines of the Accademia del Sole range, with Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Wines produced in the estates of Apulia are commercialized with the Allora branding, currently made of two wines produced with 100% Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes. Finally, in Tunisia are being produced two wines - both belonging to the Selian range, the ancient name of Sahara desert - produced with Carignan and Syrah grapes.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Accademia del Sole Viognier 2004, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Accademia del Sole Viognier 2004
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Viognier
Price: € 7.60 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine shows a pale straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of peach and elder followed by aromas of acacia, pineapple, banana, litchi, apple and pear. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of peach, pineapple and pear. This Viognier ferments and ages in barrique.
Food Match: Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Fish soups



Ljetas d'Istinto 2004, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Ljetas d'Istinto 2004
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Catarratto, Chardonnay, Viognier
Price: € 4.80 Score: Wine that excels in its category  Good value wine
This wine shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of banana and pear followed by aromas of acacia, pineapple, hawthorn, apple and peach. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of peach, pineapple and pear.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with crustaceans, Sauteed Crustaceans, Sauteed fish



Terre di Ginestra Catarratto 2004, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Terre di Ginestra Catarratto 2004
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Catarratto
Price: € 7.20 Score:   Good value wine
The wine shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of pear, apple and broom followed by aromas of pineapple, hawthorn, orange blossom, chamomile, lemon, peach and plum. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of pear, peach and plum, This Catarratto ages for a short period in barrique.
Food Match: Fried fish, Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Broiled fish and crustaceans, Cereals and legumes soups



Sidi Salem Carignan Selian 2003, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Sidi Salem Carignan Selian 2003
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Carignan
Price: € 11.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean and pleasing aromas which start with hints of cherry and blackberry followed by aromas of plum, vanilla, tobacco, rose and walnut husk. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and pleasing crispness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of cherry and plum. Carignan Selian ages for 8 months in barrique.
Food Match: Broiled meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Terre di Ginestra 651 2002, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Terre di Ginestra 651 2002
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Nero d'Avola, Syrah
Price: € 14.40 Score:
The wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black cherry, plum and blackberry followed by aromas of violet, vanilla, carob, licorice, tobacco, mace, pink pepper and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, plum and blackberry. A well made wine. Terre di Ginestra 651 ages for 8 months in barrique followed by 3 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Magnifico d'Istinto 2002, Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Magnifico d'Istinto 2002
Calatrasi (Sicily, Italy)
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot
Price: € 15.60 Score: Wine that excels in its category
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of black currant, plum and black cherry followed by aromas of blackberry, violet, vanilla, carob, licorice, tobacco, mace, black pepper and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, plum and black currant. A well made wine. Magnifico d'Istinto ages for 12-18 months in barrique followed by 3 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Calatrasi - Contrada Piano Piraino - 90040 San Cipirello, Palermo, Italy - Tel. +39 091 8576767 Fax. è39 091 8576041 - Winemaker: Tamra Washington - Established: 1980 - Production: 8.000.000 bottles - E-Mail: info@calatrasi.it - WEB: www.calatrasi.it


 Wine Tasting  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 35, November 2005   
CalatrasiCalatrasi Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 34, October 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 36, December 2005

Cellar Journal


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 Wine Tasting  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
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