An eruption of intense flavour from Etna

This Italian white could herald one of the most welcome renaissances in the modern wine world.

2019 Le Sabbie dell’Etna, Etna Bianco, Firriato, Sicily, Italy

(£12.99, 63 branches of Waitrose; £13.02, drinksandco.co.uk

Etna wine is very much en vogue. It is popping up everywhere and you inevitably have to pay up for the privilege of drinking wines from this north-east corner of Sicily, grown in the surrounds of the great volcano. I am not as enamoured of these wines as many, but I understand their appeal.

It is the lava-rich soils that give the whites and reds such a notable flavour. The intense minerality is unmistakable and it brings with it a dry, grainy, raspy and somewhat peculiar sensation on the back of the palate. It’s like lobbing a few pumice stones into your glass! Etnan whites and reds are usually made from somewhat lacklustre indigenous grapes and the wines that lack intensity seem to submit to their volcanic roots.

But there are a few serious wineries whose wines are genuinely fascinating, benefiting from superb intensity and great balance, and my chosen white is one of the best-value I have tasted in years. Made from local white grapes carricante and catarratto and underpinned with the tell-tale volcanic signature, there is more fruit here that anyone could wish for and the peach and greengage notes are perfectly matched to the sour, pithy minerality.

As more decent wines emerge from Etna, we might be witnessing one of the most welcome renaissances in the modern wine world: viticulture has been practised here since the Neolithic era.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)

Recommended

Whether it’s cryptocurrencies or investment trusts, make sure you know what you’re investing in
Investment strategy

Whether it’s cryptocurrencies or investment trusts, make sure you know what you’re investing in

Many people scoff at cryptocurrency speculators pouring money into an asset they may barely understand. But the same could be said of investors in man…
26 Jan 2022
How to invest in energy and metals as tech stocks crash
Commodities

How to invest in energy and metals as tech stocks crash

It’s been a terrible week for stockmarkets. But not everything is crashing – “real” assets such as metals and energy are holding up well and should ha…
26 Jan 2022
Shareholder capitalism: the world’s most powerful asset manager wants you to have your say
ESG investing

Shareholder capitalism: the world’s most powerful asset manager wants you to have your say

Under shareholder capitalism, the owners of the companies the big fund managers invest in are us – yet our voice is rarely heard. Now one asset manage…
26 Jan 2022
Julian Brigden: markets are at a huge inflexion point
Investment strategy

Julian Brigden: markets are at a huge inflexion point

Merryn talks to Julian Brigden of Macro Intelligence 2 Partners about the unwinding of the US stockmarket's super-bubble, and the risks and opportunit…
25 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing
Investment strategy

Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing

Ian Lance and Nick Purves of the Temple Bar investment trust explain the essence of “value investing” – buying something for less than its intrinsic v…
14 Jan 2022