An Interview with Pietradolce Winery
The Pietradolce Vineyards
What is the history of the land you are on? What was it used for before your winery owned it or did someone else owned it previously?
Some of the land we cultivate was already dedicated to Pre-Phylloxera vineyards, and others we transformed into vineyards.
What clones and selections are used?
We only cultivate varieties typical to Etna, or rather NERELLO MASCALESE for reds and CARRICANTE for whites. The clones are the original ones we found.
Where does the water sources for the vineyard(s) come from?
The regulations don’t provide for irrigation on Etna. So, our water resources are only natural – rain.
What trellising systems does the winery use? Why do you prefer that system?
We use only Alberello, which is historic to Etna. Even though it’s more expensive in terms of cultivation, we are firmly convinced that it generates excellent quality in the final product.
What are the different soil types from each of the vineyard sites? What do these soils do for your wines?
In general, all of the land we cultivate has volcanic origins, influenced by erosion from lava. Each lava eruption strongly influences the minerals in that part of the land.
Do any of your vineyards have names? If so, is there a story behind those names?
Our “Grand Cru” is from a vineyard called BARBAGALLI. In the past, it belonged to a family called Barbagallo, it was a sort of feudal estate. The locals mangled the name, changing it to BARBAGALLI, and we kept the name. It could be easily considered a subzone of the Contrada Rampante, where it is located. Aside from that, we like to name our wines after the Contradas in which they are located.
If you have large vineyards, do you only use a portion of the vineyard to produce specific wines? How did you choose what portions to use?
We produce our single vineyards from small Pre-Phylloxera vines that are 100-130-year-old, while we use our younger vines for the entry-level wines.
The Pietradolce Winery & Winemaking Process
What makes your winery different from others in the region? In Italy?
We are strongly linked to tradition and defend it. We look for an elegant style, clean and traditional, as long as they are authentic expressions of the area. Our centenary vineyards help us.
What is the winery’s long-term plans regarding production levels, vineyard replanting, style of winemaking, consumer targets, etc.
Our style won’t change much (if at all) because we strongly believe in the goals we made; we won’t increase the production quantities (more than a little) in that we like to keep a close eye on the production process. We would like to maintain an artisanal and authentic style.
What vintage had the most challenges and what were those challenges? How did you overcome them?
Each vintage is different from the next. We had really balanced vintages in terms of the weather in 2014 and 2016, which were excellent. Others were more complicated in that they were rainier, such as 2018. This is what makes our work interesting.
What cooperage does the winery use?
We use 700-liter casks.
Is there a philosophy around cooperage?
We use this size barrel because we want to give our wine a distinct flavor of oak. In addition, we use our barrels 5-6 times.
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