Etna: an emotional harvest and the quality of great vintages
Shaded by the volcano, Mandrarossa harvests perfectly ripe grapes with a sugar/acidity balance that forecast wines with an extraordinary quality level
Mandrarossa’s 2020 harvest in the vineyards on Etna has recently ended. After a few months from the official launch of the new wines, Sentiero delle Gerle Etna Bianco and Rosso DOC, harvesting the Carricante and Nerello Mascalese grapes, on the dark volcanic soil while gazing at the volcano that towers the vineyards of Linguaglossa, was a unique experience.
An even more authentic experience for those who physically took part to the harvest, alongside the local farmers, documenting step by step the work among the vine rows, while constantly sharing knowledge, methods, actions and care, which make a difference. And with the emotion, the enthusiasm to learn that the quality of the 2020 harvest was great, beyond all predictions, reaching the highest levels and comparable only to the best vintages.
The women for the harvest on Etna
Let’s begin from the harvest ritual.
Like a live and vibrant representation, the illustrated women that bring the labels of the two bottles of Sentiero delle Gerle Etna Bianco and Rosso DOC to life, created for Mandrarossa by the artist from Trieste, Nancy Rossit, seem to come out from the drawing into the vine rows to work with a smile and professionalism even before the men.
Proud and capable, wearing colourful shirts and hats while holding their shears and modern baskets, Mandrarossa’s women from Etna harvested grapes that the climate from the past summer made extremely refined, comparable only to the 2007, 2010, 2016 and 2019 vintages, the best of the past twenty years.
The next production of Sentiero delle Gerle Etna Bianco DOC (100% Carricante) and Sentiero delle Gerle Etna Rosso DOC (100% Nerello Mascalese) is predicted to be of extremely high quality and a premonition of many satisfactions. The two wines, iconic wines of the Storie Ritrovate product line, launched with a great success the journey started by Mandrarossa through Etna’s territory, receiving, throughout 2020, many recognitions and gratifying opinions from the best wine awards.
The ripening of the grapes
To understand how the quality of the 2020 harvested grapes in the Mandrarossa vineyards on Etna is determined, it’s necessary to look at the climate trends from the months prior to the harvest. This factor, by far, determined the ripening and ultimate quality level of the grapes. “September began with a countertrend, warmer and sunnier compared to the past and with maximum temperatures above 30°C on several occasions, while minimum temperatures averaged above 15°C. This specific climate trend provided a phenological acceleration that determined the recovery of part of the delay accumulated during the summer months”.
Even the first ten days of October confirmed the climate trend seen in September, allowing to harvest the grapes at an optimal ripening stage and with a perfect health condition, even if a few days later compared to the 2019 harvest.
Both white and black grapes, in this climatic context, ripened slowly with a great balance, therefore arriving at the winery in perfectly healthy conditions.
The quality of great vintages
The phenological delay accumulated during the summer and never fully recovered, resulted in ripe grapes, but with sugar gradients sensibly lower than average and acidity levels slightly higher, as it normally occurs on Etna during colder, but not excessively rainy, years. The grapes from the most prolific areas reached a very high qualitative level, with an almost perfect phenolic ripening and a sugar/acidity balance of great vintages.
Mandrarossa is anxiously anticipating extremely pleasant and elegant wines, with an intense fruity note in the simpler wines that will be also suggested in the most important wines, but supported and improved by spicy and balsamic notes that determine the bold territorial characterization of the crus from Etna.