Tenute di Nuna is to be found in the village of Sant’Alfio, just outside the key Versante Est town of Milo, where Maria Novella (‘Nuna’) Trantino & Fabio Percolla from Catania bought first a 5ha parcel of land in 2006, planting it in rows/spalliera to Carricante for Etna Bianco in 2010. Their first harvest & bottling being in 2015. In 2017 they then bought a second, smaller plot of 1ha in the comune of Milo with which to produce their first Etna Bianco Superiore in 2020 from higher density/smaller space of alberello vines, located in the heart of the lava flow, on a bed of lapilli/ash pebbles. Hence the name of the property: Tenute di Nuna.
The vines lie at c.880m asl, on a 1971 lava flow, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, but with Mte. Etna looming up above the property. While the couple restructure the property, since 2018 the wines have been made close to the vineyards in the comune of Trecastagni, with the help of a young Sicilian winemaker Benedetto Alessandro, of Camporeale. Cultivation of the vines is organic.
High up in the comune of Milo, THE cru of the Versante est for whites with strong marine influence; the capital of Carricante, you could say. Nuna is the nickname for Novella whose mother had bought the property in Sant’Alfio, now under renovation – the sala di degustazione with sea views is covered in coccio pesto the incredibly long lasting cement used by the Romans to build aquaducts and sewers in Rome and also used to construct the local palmenti.
Beautiful views over to the sea, and a crisp breeze which brought rain which falls so typically here (nb find a map showing the funnel). Despite the high rainfall, the wines stay concentrated due to the free draining volcanic soils. Interestingly Fabio said there is a climate change especially in rainfall, with much less in September and October. A huge grey rocky lava flow separates their vineyards in Sant’Alfio, planted in rows/spalliera where they make their Etna Bianco DOC, while just on the other side they purchased their 1ha in the comune of Milo proper where the wine can be called Etna Bianco Superiore. We were served a charming array of Sicilian delizie, inc. candied orange peel and almond biscotti, and Fabio was happy to open other vintages for us, but we couldn’t taste from tank.
They make only two white wines but are considering making some sparkling. As for reds, Fabio believes that Milo & environs are not suited to Nerello Mascalese which would struggle to ripen.
2015 Etna Bianco – gold with green lights, aromatic evolved petrolly nose with medium weight and broad stone fruit/apple/agrumi character. Softer textured, this is less complex than the others and not showing the characteristic Milo minerals and salt but the plants were very young. Planted 2012?
2016 Etna Bianco – green lights, paler gold, lovely fresh acidity, more linear in profile with good pebbly minerality and sapidity.
2020 Etna Bianco – with this vintage they moved to make wines that are more approachable younger as these are wines with great longevity. To do this Fabio said they aimed to lower the acidity but in truth I couldn’t tell this, as the wine still had zip.
2020 Etna Bianco Superiore – their first vintage. From the other side of the lava flow. The vineyard here has lots of iron – calamita, and the wines have greater minerality and structure. Planted in 2017/2018 all alberello. Low temperature fermentation, malolactic, oak, affinamento 14 months. Deeper gold, agrumi nose, Burgundian in structure with more weight of fruit versus the crisp acidity, mineral length/salinity and crisp balance.