The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2015

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Page 130 of 136

130  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2015 O n a plateau overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, spotted with cactus and lined with windswept olive trees, is the site that embraces the future of Sicilian wine. Here, in Capo Milazzo, in an appellation called Mamertino where only a few bottlers are working, the winery Planeta is making its third harvest of a red blend from two indigenous varieties: Nero d'Avola and the lesser-known Nocera. Only 20 years ago, when Sicily was mostly known for cheap bulk wine, it was through producing international varietals such as Chardonnay and Merlot that Planeta drew attention to the island's potential for producing world-class, terroir-driven wines. "There were two wines mentioned in the era of Julius Caesar," says Patricia Tóth, the 34-year- old winemaker of Hungarian origin who has been with Planeta for eight years. Those wines, lauded by naturalist and author Phily the Elder, were Falanghina and Mamertino. In addition to the two red grapes, Planeta is experimenting with three indigenous varieties—Vitraruolo, Lucignola and Catanese Nera—which they will study over time to evaluate their potential in that terroir. Harvesting grapes at the Planeta vineyard in Capo Milazzo. by Rachel Signer There are many different Sicilys, in the weather, in the landscape, in the architecture, in the culture, and each of Planeta's six wineries aims to be a reflection of the local terroir. Journey Planeta's

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