Vinitaly 2010: Interview with Vito Catania, owner of Azienda Gulfi, about the 4 Crus in Sicily

(Find some more news on www.vitabella.fr). Special Vinitaly 2010 - With 95 points to Nerosanlore 2005, Robert Parker showed to the world that some of the best wines in the world could also come from Sicily. Planted with autochtonuous grapes (including Carjcantj, Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese), Azienda Gulfi's vineyards are famous for a limited production of 4 Crus (Nerobufaleffj, Neromaccarj, Nerosanlorè, Nerobaronj) created by Vito Catania. Taking part to Vinitaly 2010, Vito Catania answered our questions before heading to Verona.
How would you define your wines?
It is extremely difficult to answer this question as we have a large range of wines with different traditional grapes. I would say that some have a vibrant fruit with delicate tannins and a nice acidity: these wines can be drunk very young. And some, like our 4 Crus and Reseca, a red wine from Etna, need a long ageing. Our Crus could be compared to some great chateauneuf du pape that I enjoy drinking when they are young but which are extraordinary after a long ageing. For example, we are having now, at home, some Nerobufaleffj or Neromaccarj 2001. Delicate, elegant with a long finish, they develop beautiful aromas that you can not get at an early stage.
How do you explain this long ageing potential?
When I decided with Salvo Foti to isolate some parcels and make 4 different Crus, I already knew that these places had different expressions. Call it terroir or whatever, these diverse environments had always produced different wines that were traditionnally not blended. So, a long time ago sicilian farmers already knew that these parcels had something special, including their ageing potential. Moreover, we also work our vines organically. In fact, having "organically grown" written on our labels is not as important as the daily work we make in our vineyard. But I find that, year after year, we got a better definition of the different soils and also gained in balance. It is incredible how fresh these wines are when you consider the high temperatures we have during the summer. Both, choosing specific terroirs and working naturally, helped Gulfi to make well balanced and long ageing wines. It is even more impressive on white wines, more particularly on Carjcantj. Year after year, these wines gained minerality and tasting 1999 now is a real pleasure.
And what about Reseca, your wine on the Etna Mount?
On Etna, we have very old vines planted in Nerello Mascalese. Some are more than 100 years old and give a low yield but with an extreme concentration. Etna is very particular and Gulfi always wanted to keep the traditional working habits in this vineyard. Sometimes it is really hard, we have to invest a lot of time on these small parcels but the outcome is unique. Full of tannins, with a black colour, Reseca could not be compared to a specific wine. The first time I walked in this parcel, I got a special feeling: everything was quite, relaxing and so natural.The production is very limited but we are very proud to show this wine to the world as Etna has something I would call magical.(Find some more news on www.vitabella.fr).