Home > Good, GoodDevelop, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > The Old Vines of Vinicola Benanti

The Old Vines of Vinicola Benanti


The wines of Vinicola Benanti are a part of the recent arrivals at MacArthur Beverages.  I grabbed the wines because I was unfamiliar with the producer and they are attractively priced for Etna wines.  Over one century ago Giuseppe Benanti began the production of wine on the family’s farm at Monte Serra on Mount Etna.    In 1988 his grandson, Dr. Giuseppe Benanti revived the production of wine.  Today the estate is run by  Giuseppei and his sons Antonio and Salvino.  The vineyards are located at three general areas: Etna, Pachino, and Pantelleria.  The wines featured in this post originated as fruit from Etna and Pachino.  The Etna vineyards are located at different altitudes and regions of Etna.  The Pachino vineyard is located in south-east Sicily in Syracuse.  The vines are located on a hot and arid plain with soils of chalk and clay.  All fruit is hand-harvested, transported in refrigerated trucks if needed, then produced using minimal mechanical equipment.  The fruit is fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in French oak.

Vineyard at Mount Serra, Image by Tom McGrew at Benanti

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these wines.  For some reason I had it in mind that the white Edelmio was from the 2011 vintage.  When I started reading the back label I was surprised to see it was four years older  It is remarkably fresh and should drink well for several years.  Both of the red wines have the same varietal blend but are sourced from different vineyards.  They tasted quite different and I do recommend you try both of them side by side.  However, if you can only purchase one bottle then grab the Serra della Contessa.  Containing fruit from ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines this wine already has a strong presence in the mouth.  It should still develop for several more years and only become better.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2007 Benanti, Edelmio, Sicily – $19
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carricante and 50% Chardonnay.  The Carricante is sourced from a vineyard on Etna whereas the Chardonnay is sourced from Pachino.  The whole bunches are fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak casks then aged for 12 months on the lees in the same casks.  The wine is a light yellow in the glass.  The nose reveals delicately textured yellow fruit and a hit of orchard.  In the mouth the flavors start off with a bit of zing on the tongue as light, yellow fruit, some tartness, and flavors of stone come out.  There is a moderately round mouthfeel, plenty of fresh acidity, more stones in the finish, and a silky aftertaste. *** Now-2017.

2005 Benanti, Rovitello, Etna – $27
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from Castiglione di Sicilia which is located on northern Mt. Etna at 750 meters.  The fruit is harvested in October.  The vines are 80 years old on soils which are sandy, volcanic, and rich in minerals.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.  The color is a medium earthy ruby.  There is a fine nose of black cherry, fine cedar, and perhaps a touch of pine.  In the mouth the flavors start with ripe-ish red fruit which turns to stoney blue fruit as the flavors lighten up.  There is a wood grain texture with spices and cedar before the flavors become savory with a chewy black note.  There are very fine drying tannins  and nice incense.  *** Now-2019.

2004 Benanti, Serra della Contessa, Etna – $30
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from Monte Serra which is located on the eastern side of Mt. Etna at 500 meters. The fruit is harvested at the end of September.  The vines are 100 years old, some of which are ungrafted, on soils which are sandy, volcanic, and rich in minerals.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in very large oak casks, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for 12 months in oak barrels.  The good nose reveals low-lying aromas which are almost brambly.  The flavors in the mouth are a touch riper than the Rovitello, more refined with smooth black and red fruits.  The sweetly spiced, fine tannins which coat the lips.  The chunkier tannins make this a good wine to work around the mouth.  ***(*) 2015-2022.

  1. benanti
    June 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Reblogged this on benanti and commented:
    A fascinating article by our friend Aaron Nix-Gomez

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