Vino di Anna Qvevri is Nerello Mascalese with a little Nerello Cappuccio and Alicante - floral and expressive, this wine smells of red fruits, particularly morello cherries coupled with dry flowers. The palate is soft and silky, with a taut acidity and fine, textural tannins. The wine is flavoursome with an underlying minerality typical of the volcanic soils of Mt Etna.
'Organically grown Nerello Mascalese grapes were hand harvested from old bush vines (60 – 100 years old) located on the northern slopes of Mt Etna, Sicily. Altitudes of the vineyards vary from 800-950 metres above sea level, with the soils being mineral rich, decomposed lava. Small quantities of Nerello Cappuccio and Alicante (Grenache) were included in the field blend. Harvest took place during the middle of October in 2017.
The grapes were destemmed by hand into several Georgian qvevris (clay vessels) ranging from 800 -1500 litres capacity. The qvevris were handmade in western Georgia by artisan Zaalido Bozhadze, who sourced the clay high in the Caucasus Mountains. The qvevris were buried in the underground wine cellar of “Vino di Anna” in 2014 where they remain permanently.
Fermentation was conducted by indigenous yeasts. Upon completion, the qvevris were sealed and the grapes and new wine were left to macerate for an extended period of time; 2-4 months. The macerated grapes were then pressed and combined with the new wine into a single qvevri before a passage of 6 months in an old wooden cask. The wine was bottled in September 2018. It was neither fined nor filtered and SO2 was not used.'
VINO DI ANNA, Anna Martens and Eric Narioo, Etna
Anna Martens trained with Brian Croser for eight years and also worked with Ornellaia and Passopisciaro. She settled in Sicily with husband Eric Narioo of Les Caves de Pyrene, UK importers.
The rest of the story is told by Jamie Goode: 'They now own 2 hectares of old alberello (bush) vines, most of which are Nerello Mascalese, but also including other varieties such as Nerello Cappuccio, Grecianco and Carricante. The vineyards are at altitude (760-900metres) and are farmed organically.
The Vino di Anna wines are made on their small property without much intervention, using native yeasts and no additives, save for a little SO2 in some lots (normally nothing is added at all). A variety of vessels are used for fermentation, including Palmento, old barrels and a Georgian qvevri.
‘Anna Martens and her Etna wines are one of the most exciting discoveries I have made this year. I met Anna years ago when she had just left a cellar job at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia on the Tuscan coast and had a vague memory of her moving to Etna to work with Andrea Franchetti. But I didn’t know until recently that this petite Australian had started her own wine brand on the volcano. She runs a small vineyard with her husband Eric Narioo on the north face of Etna. Many of her head-trained vines reach 100 years of age and are planted up to 900 meters above sea level. She adopts a non-interventionists- philosophy with natural yeast, no fining or filtering, and little or no SO2. Her most exciting wine, Qvevri, is made in 2,000 liter Georgian clay vessels.’ Monica Larner