The Tascante estate

Mount Etna works its magic on anyone who knows it. The fascinating lie of the land, the abundance, the effects of successive lava streams and the age-old experience of the people who work this territory make it irresistible. Before establishing a foothold here, we studied the whole DOC zone in all its many aspects for more than a decade, experimenting with making wines from grapes sourced from all over. But it was the Nerello Mascalese variety which most impressed us. Grown on lava soil on the slopes of the volcano, Nerello has tannins and low anthocyonins reminiscent of Nebbiolo from the Langhe or Pinot Noir from Burgundy, and it shares their rich perfumes.
So we began our search, chatting to local smallholders, and quite by chance, we came across Tenuta Boccadorzo, which emerged from the landscape like a Mayan pyramid. Its six hectares are surrounded by drystone walls dating from the late 19th century. Dazzling sunlight drenches a series of interconnecting terraces. Not far away, concealed by a copse of chestnut and downy oak, a moss-covered gate led to a walled vineyard: Tenuta Sciaranova. It was harvest time. We plucked a handful of grapes and and it was love at first taste: the Tascante project was born. These two land parcelsor 'contradas' - totalling 21 hectares - are the star turns of a small but very special wine zone between the towns of Castiglione and Randazzo.
Limited as it is, the area hosts a high concentration of producers; results are compared and contrasted immediately, generating healthy competition. The energy is palpable. As for the name, we tried playing with Tasca and Etna and came up with Tascante. In 2008, we had our first harvest.
12 hectares of vines
750 meters above sea level
The Tascante estate

To taste

The altitude of the north-facing slopes of Etna, coupled with its volcanic soil, make the fruits of the earth here very special indeed. Grapes, pinenuts and chestnuts take on a particular pungency; stroll through our terraced lands and you'll soon become aware that the wild herbs – rosemary, mint and parsley – are extraordinarily perfumed. Explore the streets of our nearest town, Randazzo, and you'll find bread made in the time-tested way, with slow-rise dough from a sourdough starter, baked in a wood-burning oven; there's extra virgin olive oil, local cheeses and cured meats from this area and from the Nebrodi mountains to the north; and of course there are Sicily's famous cakes and biscuits. The area around Tascante offers many traditional restaurants – from simple to more sophisticated – with a huge range of specialities to explore and appreciate.