The Mandrarossa wines come from a selection of the best sites from Cantine Settesoli’s 6,000 hectares of vineyard, situated in southwestern Sicily and planted with 32 different grape varieties. The vineyards are split between the 2,000 members of the co-op, and cover the area around Selinunte, the hauntingly beautiful ruins of a Greek town founded 2,600 years ago. Cantine Settesoli helps to support the restoration of this archaeological site.
First produced in 1999, Mandrarossa is about to open its own winery as it becomes increasingly focused on single-site wines. This is only fitting, as it was conceived after the diverse soils of the vineyards were mapped, enabling the winemakers to focus on what were then ranked their best sites. Under the leadership of co-operative president Giuseppe Bursi, consultant winemaker Alberto Antonini has sought to improve viticulture, which in turn has resulted in better wines.
Working with soil specialist Pedro Parra and head winemaker Mimmo De Gregorio, Alberto has selected 500 hectares of vineyard, from 160 growers, for the production of the Mandrarossa wines. These vineyards are situated close to the sea, where intense sunlight, moderating sea breezes, mild temperatures, multiple elevations and a myriad of different soil types combine to give the sort of grapes that Mimmo and Alberto are looking for. Pedro has singled out limestone as the soil with the highest potential for quality wines.
The vineyards are located on hillside sites that face south and south-east, at 150-350 metres above sea level. Soils consist mainly of limestone and are medium-textured. The vines are Guyot trained, with a density of 4,000-4,500 plants per hectare.
The grapes were crushed and destemmed, then immediately cooled to 5-8°C, and kept at these temperatures for 4-6 hours. They were softly pressed and the juice was clarified for 36 hours at a low temperature. Fermentation took place over the course of 15-20 days in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks at 16-18°C. The wine was kept in stainless-steel tanks for three months before bottling. The wine was finally released after three months of bottle ageing.
This wine is a bright straw yellow colour and opens with floral notes of acacia and hawthorn, followed by more fruity aromas of pear and pineapple. The palate has fresh acidity with flavours of grapefruit on the finish.