Montecarrubo. Wine, Vineyards, Life
We bought Montecarrubo in 2005.
It was then ten hectares of grass land with scattered almond trees and an overgrown and forgotten Olive grove. For hundreds of years, it had been used for grazing and the gathering of olives.
When we saw it the first time, it immediately became clear to us that we had found an exceptional piece of land, ideally suited for vine growing. It sat on an extinct volcano overlooking the Ionian Sea and the Bay of Augusta. The terroir was a mixture of former seabed, including a coral reef and volcanic soil. It was too good to resist and the price was right.
So, we bought the plot and prepared the land with the help of an enormous bulldozer, lent to us by a good friend, and removed tons of big stones and rocks. These collected like a mountain on a spot in the middle of the property, and later they were used as the foundation for our House.
Like everything else, we did our own drawings of the House, based on a timeless architecture of simplicity and graceful proportions. It was made to house a big collection of books and objects of family interest which had come down to us through inheritance.
The property which is part of an old volcano, extinct some two million years ago, inclines towards the Ionian Sea to the East.
The Western part which forms the ridge of the former volcanic crater is partly an old Coral reef.
Now we make a separate cuvée from here.
The Volcano was a fresh water volcano, set in the Sea, and this has left traces in the terroir.
One hectare which must have been the slopes of the volcano, is dominated by volcanic soil, interspersed with stones and boulders spewed out during eruptions. Some of these are formed like drops. When they hit the sea they solidified, and we find these ‘drops’ everywhere in the Vigna Grande vineyard today.
The Eastern part is the former seabed, dominated by volcanic soil and broken up fossilized sand. Here we constantly find fossils of shell fish and scallops. This part, which we have called Vignolo, makes different wines from Vigna Grande and both are totally dominated by their terroir.
To the North we have an uninterrupted view of the Etna, while the south presents us with the town of Melilli perched on the low mountain range of Climiti.
Realising that the ‘right’ variety, based on a theory that you ‘must’ plant the local grape, was hopelessly outdated, it was discarded in favour of a belief that the ‘right’ variety would be the one which would produce precise and superior quality wines, which again would be related to the terroir.
As we were on an old volcano and there were two distinct terroirs, we traced and found two massal sélections of Syrah plants in the Hermitage of the Cotes du Rhone in France, which we thought could do well in these surroundings.
We were convinced that both the climate and situation of our Estate could make outstanding Syrah wines.
The geological outlay obviously made us decide to plant two separate vineyards.
The two single vineyards, Vigna Grande and Vignolo were therefore planted in 2010.
As it turned out, our philosophy was right.
Both wines turned out to be winners with very distinct characteristics, reflecting the two plots and the volcanic soil composition, and we immediately began selling the young wines at high prices a bottle, thereby establishing a price level reflecting the quality.
The response of variety, even of the selection of vines to the local terroir was razor sharp and has over the years led the critics appraising the wines as being amongst the best examples of Syrah grown in Italy!
Further planting rights were granted and we felt our economic situation was in good shape, so we added an extra 6 Hectares to the property by buying a plot towards the sea, facing our land, bringing the whole property to 16 Hectares.
Eight of these would be vineyards. The rest is the old olive grove as well as a 1,000 new olive trees planted by us and plantations of herbs, dominated by lavender and thyme.
The Vinding-Diers’ planted two Syrah vineyards in 2010, which produce wines that are rated amongst the best examples in Italy. To this, they have recently added a hectare of Grillo selected from the old Whitaker plantation on the Island of Mozia outside Marsala.
Peter is also working on a project to recover some ancient and long forgotten Sicilian red varieties that have a DNA of 3,000 years on this wild and wonderful island. They are showing to be highly suited to dry and hot climates and early findings in association with the experimental station in Marsala are extremely encouraging.
Montecarrubo is certified organic.
The wines are made in limited quantities and are available in a number of markets around the world. For further information, please contact us email@example.com
Montecarrubo is also home to 1,300 mature Nocellara Etnea and Nocellara del Belice olive trees. These indigenous cultivars, farmed organically produce the most excellent organic extra virgin olive oil each autumn.
High in polyphenols, this delicious nectar is also extremely good for you.
In the interest of biodiversity, two large organic lavender fields have been planted recently to the delight of the local honeybee population.
Peter’s vast experience making wine in South Africa, Bordeaux, Brazil, Kenya, Spain, Chile and Hungary is nothing short of incredible - he is reknown for having revolutionised Graves by changing the style of white wines in 1979 (followed by Denis Dubourdieu in 1980); It is thanks to Peter that Rahoul was accepted into the Union des Grands Crus and Landiras into Les Grands Blancs de Bordeaux. In Hungary in the 90s he founded the Royal Tokaji Company with wine author Hugh Johnson, where he found the old 1700 classification and changed the style of wine back to its former pre-war and pre-communism style. This is a man who seeks out serious terroir and then treats it impeccably to allow it to realise its potential.
His autobiography 'Viking in the Vineyard' has been published in English in 2021 by The Acadamie du Vin Library. It is also available in Danish 'En håndfuld oliven og et glas vin’.
© Montecarrubo 2021