Grape(s): Nero d’Avola
Localization: Sicily, Italy
Tasting Notes: It has an impeccable and fragrant fruit of surprising sharpness that reveals a profusion of scents that alternate in recalling plum and blackberries, black cherries and bilberries, cloves, black pepper, licorice, dark chocolate, and humus. It admirably blends all its power with expressive delicacy revealing a suave depth; it has an assertive character that is well-tempered by the silky and delightful tannins; the match between nose a
94 points.James Suckling: "Aromas of charred toast and smoked meat dominate, with some kalamata olive. Orange peel, too. It's medium-bodied with elegant, fine tannins. Initial savory notes are complemented by dried raspberries and cherry stones. Wonderful complexity to this with evolving layers of fruit, dried flowers, earth, and smoky minerality. Drink or hold.
The Domain: A lifetime of work to achieve a dream that would become a reference model. The dream of giving rise to an important production experience, with deep ties to the land and its ability to generate life, history and culture. More than thirty years ago he decided to valorize Sicilian wine-making traditions to achieve excellence through the production of high-quality wine, in a period in which it seemed this was a long way from being even remotely conceivable, based on the few others that had embarked on this process. The world of high-quality wine, at least in Sicily, was just beginning and Salvatore Di Gaetano, a young businessman devoted to his land, could already glimpse the enormous potential offered by Sicily as a wine-making region. A miniature continent, capable of encompassing absolutely everything: from the high mountains to the sea, from compact clay soils to those that emerged from the sea, not to mention the lava sands of Etna. Then there are the vines, the sun and the spiralling wind.
Firriato is a unit of measurement, a clear concept, the result of a business decision capable of transforming itself into promise and devotion. Recalling a production history that holds such importance for the world of high-quality Sicilian wine in a few brief lines could result in a rash and inadequate summary. Because Firriato is a company that is a living, warm-blooded organism that thrives on nature, identity, and passion. We are in the province of Trapani, one of the most magical parts of the wine region of Sicily, where centuries of vine growing have given this area a natural ability to produce wines with a strong sense of identity. It was the start of the eighties when Salvatore Di Gaetano, a businessman with a passion for his homeland, saw the right elements in this picture-postcard landscape to bear the fruit of his freely declared passion: high-quality wine. Firriato is the crowning achievement of this dream, a company that in three decades has become one of the biggest production companies in Sicily, a reference for Made in Italy excellence acknowledged all over the world. Right from the onset, Salvatore Di Gaetano has gambled on the oenological potential of traditional vines. Nero d’Avola, Perricone, and Nerello Mascalese, but also Zibibbo, Grillo, and Catarratto, with Firriato, have all become wines that have crossed the oceans, reaching far away cities and entering into the heart of enthusiastic wine lovers. Harmonium, Ribeca, and Santagostino are wines that have made the company famous, along with its lead players. Wines of the utmost prestige, bearing witness to a production style capable of giving due value to wines produced in Sicily. Harvest after harvest, Firriato has implemented a modern wine-making plan based on viticulture that enhances and valorizes the varietal features of every vine planted. A production philosophy that in just a few years has become the unmistakable mark of a style that has led to the production of wines with a strong sense of identity. They are recognizable right from the first sip, have been awarded accolades from critics, and are enjoyed by wine lovers all over the world. Over the years, the challenge became even more exciting when the company set itself the goal of presenting new wines that are a perfect reflection of Sicily. The original production area in the countryside of Trapani was increased, investing in Etna and the Aegadian Islands. The new estates, Cavanera on the volcano and Calamoni on Favignana, have enabled Firriato to present itself to the world with a complexity of soil and climate conditions that only Sicily manages to encompass in one large land bathed in sunlight.
Firriato’s strength lies in the consistent choices it has made. Especially those that focus on nature, biodiversity, protecting the landscape, and innovation. A profile that is most emblematic in the management of its vineyards, considering that all of them are certified organic. Only a large, well-run company is capable of managing six agricultural estates so different from each other, dealing with a complex range of tasks that require constant overseeing and attention. This is something that Salvatore Di Gaetano and his family are proud of and know that the company’s entire team share that pride, both in the vineyards and in the winery.
Today the strong affection for Sicily has been given new strength thanks to the arrival of Irene, Salvatore and Vinzia’s daughter, and her husband, Federico Lombardo di Monte Iato, who are taking the family dream forward with passion.
If the wine-producing region of Sicily has gained great acceptance on an international level, it is partly due to Firriato, as it has actively contributed to revealing the value of Sicilian wine to the rest of the world. The Di Gaetano family’s company was one of the first production companies on the island to look beyond the national border, passionate in raising the awareness of a unique territory, a crossroad of cultures and ancient civilizations that tell of a history ranging from the Phoenicians to the Arabs, from the Normans to the Spaniards. A cultural success before becoming a commercial one, concrete evidence of a hard-working and productive Sicily capable of taking on the role of ambassador of Italian excellence throughout the world.