This Sicilian winery may be a byword for innovation and knowing the market now, in the mid-1990s they didn't even have a label for their wine.
What they did have was a vision that has played a key role in revolutionising the image and quality of Sicilian wines, founded on an unrivalled knowledge of the land forged by many years as grape growers.
When the change was made in the 1990s, expertise came from a source that is as surprising as it is illustrative of the breadth of the Planeta vision: Australia. The winemaker brought in by Diego Planeta was an Italian, Carlo Corino, but one who had learned the latest warm-climate winemaking secrets in Mudgee, New South Wales. Planeta's wines have captured the intrinsic perfume and fresh flavours of Sicily's grapes ever since.
This, at the time, unconventional approach extended to the winemaking, with Planeta establishing a cult following for its barrel-aged Chardonnay at a time when most Italian white wines were typically consumed straight out of the fermenter.
That early success gave Planeta the credibility to open the world's eyes to the charms of Sicily's indigenous grape varieties, ushering in a broad range of wines that today owes as much to Grecanico and Nero d'Avola as it does to the winery's signature Chardonnay.
The ever-dynamic Planeta continue to move their inspirational projects forward. They have launched a wine made with grapes grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, began an environmental project called Planeta Terra, and opened a resort hotel, La Foresteria, in Menfi. Nothing stands still for Planeta!
The wine which has become an image of the change in Sicilian wine. It arrived from the wish for success in competing with the world in the production of this noble and widespread grape. Following a long process beginning in 1985, full of surprises and successes, today the Planeta Chardonnay is an icon for the whole of Sicily. The vines of Ulmo and Maroccoli, from which it is produced, are unique for their aspect and terroir. The fermentation and aging in French wood, carefully and precisely judged, delivers a wine unique for its grace and power.
After destalking, soft pressing and static sedimentation at a low temperature, fermentation in barrique at 18⁰C, maturation of 11 months with bâtonnage carried out every 10 days Maturation: in Allier oak barriques of 225 litres, 50% new and 50% 2nd and 3rd use.
A rich, golden Chardonnay that bundles yellow peaches, acacia honey and a touch of marzipan into a net of fine-thread acidity, then hits you with a homely waft of toast.
Great with a classic roast chicken or for a change, try it with some just seared foie gras or with roast veal and mushroom sauce.