FORGET WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT MT. ETNA - MEET SONIA GAMBINO 💫

Mt. Etna wine is synonymous with the grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Carricante.  All of these indigenous grape varieties produce exciting & interesting wines when grown under the perfect conditions of their preferred volcanic terroir, an actual active volcano.  However, there is a small commune by the name of Maletto not growing any of the grape varieties synonymous with Mt. Etna.  

Maletto, a tiny and isolated village sandwiched between the communes of Bronte and Randozzo on the western side of Mt. Etna boasts elevations upwards of 1200 meters above sea level, which proves difficult for the traditional varieties of Etna to ripen.  Twenty-nine year old native Sicilian, Sonia Gambino, is happily flipping the script as to what is a traditional Mount Etna wine by working with alternative grape varieties such as Nirellu, Granazzu, Minnella, Grecanico Dorato, Grenache, and “nu sacciu” (which is literally Sicilian for, “I do not know”).

Sonia Gambino was born in Bronte but raised in Milan.  Her wine journey began fresh out of university with a degree in Gastronomic Sciences & a fiery enthusiasm to begin her post graduate life.  On a trip to Piedmont, Sonia was inspired by legendary winemakers such as Maria Teresa of Bartolo Mascarello and Giovanni Canonica and decided to study viticulture at Montpellier University. Sonia was soon hired by Chateau Lèoville Las Cases, the famous Bordeaux estate, where she remained for a year in the role of assistant winemaker. After some time in Chile, she returned to Italy, where the call of the vines brought her back to her family home in Maletto.

In Sonia’s words, “When I arrived here, many told me ‘In Maletto there is nothing.’ But I found a treasure, made of uncontaminated and powerful nature, of an ancient and precious agricultural culture. Here I discovered centenary vineyards rich in almost lost varieties, colors, scents, energy, immersed in the woods and intertwined with cherry and walnut trees.  I decided to become its ‘keeper,’ and transform its fruits into authentic, artisanal, and totally natural wines.”

Gustinella 'Jungimmune' Rosso, Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy 2020

Sonia Gambino was born in Bronte but raised in Milan.  Her wine journey began fresh out of university with a degree in Gastronomic Sciences & a fiery enthusiasm to begin her post graduate life.  On a trip to Piedmont, Sonia was inspired by legendary winemakers such as Maria Teresa of Bartolo Mascarello and Giovanni Canonica and decided to study viticulture at Montpellier University. Sonia was soon hired by Chateau Lèoville Las Cases, the famous Bordeaux estate, where she remained for a year in the role of assistant winemaker. After some time in Chile, she returned to Italy, where the call of the vines brought her back to her family home in Maletto.

In Sonia’s words, “When I arrived here, many told me ‘In Maletto there is nothing.’ But I found a treasure, made of uncontaminated and powerful nature, of an ancient and precious agricultural culture. Here I discovered centenary vineyards rich in almost lost varieties, colors, scents, energy, immersed in the woods and intertwined with cherry and walnut trees.  I decided to become its ‘keeper,’ and transform its fruits into authentic, artisanal, and totally natural wines.”

This drinks like a Cru Beaujolais, done in a Burgundian style.  The fruit is elegant with a lovely sandy tannins, bright acidity and a pretty floral nose. 

Grapes: Mainly Grenache

Soil: Vulcanic 

Viticulture: Organic