2016 I Custodi Etna Bianco Ante
Mount Etna is the current darling of the Italian wine scene, and I Custodi is in the center of it all. Founder Mario Paoluzi has teamed up with Etna guru Salvo Foti (and his label, I Vigneri), who have the best local vineyard workers who tend the ancient albarello vines (head-trained vines with no trellising).
Salvo (pictured left) is the godfather of Etna in a way as he has helped many of the most famous properties learn how to best tend their vines, work their land and make wine- something that sounds simple, but is not with the ultra-finicky red grape of the region, Nerello Mascalese. Although almost every producer owns vineyards that are close to or over a century old that were long abandoned, it wasn’t until that last 10 years or so that the region learned how to best manage the vines and wines to make the best possible product. Salvo is largely responsible for this.
I Custodi’s Etna Bianco ‘Ante’ comes from 1,200 meter high vineyards on the sea-influenced eastern slopes. It is 90% Carricante (the best white of the region), which is a courier for the large amount of volcanic and saline mineral notes classic of the region. The 10% balance is composed of Grecanico, Minella and other varietals native to the area that give the richness and weight you’ll find in the wine. Enjoy this with anything cream based or with richly textured sauces. The high acidity is a natural pairing