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 volcanic soils of Etna originate from the slow breaking down of the lava rock, from the abundant presence of ashes emitted from the crater and from organic substances. They are rich in stones and minerals. The quantity and dimension of the stones varies a great deal on the different terraces as does the depth of each type of soil. In every case fertility and complexity are the common denominator in the different soils of our vineyards in the Etna area.
600/800 metres above sea level
The grapes are picked into crates and refrigerated at once at 10° before being selected by hand. After destemming and crushing, they ferment at 25° for 12 days with two mixing over each day. After about 18 days they are pressed with a vertical press. Maturation in barriques previously used 2 or 3 times for about 6 months.
Soft red from the Sicilian Nerello Mascalese grape, packed with plums, raspberries and green tomato leaves.
Pasta sauces based on tomatoes, red meat, spicy sauces and aged cheese.