I Custodi 'Aetneus' Etna Rosso 2016
- In stock, ready to ship
Direct Press Selection • January 2023
Extreme diurnal temperature swings mark one of the many differences that separate the vineyard area surrounding Mount Etna from the sun-'n'-fun “White Lotus” vibe you usually find in Sicily. The dry-terraced lava walls are a defining feature of the semi-lunar vista, dotted with some of the oldest vines on the whole island.
From its beginning in 2007, Mario Paoluzi set the groundwork to make i Custodi (The Custodians) one of the references for the traditional viticulture in Mt. Etna. The premise of i Custodi was to employ traditional methods and the caretakers of these hills for generations, the ones most intimate with the area’s cycles and these ancient vines (some over 150 years old). Today, the winery employs most of the working folk in their village, and serves as the place where new generations work shoulder to shoulder with and learn from farmers who’ve worked these vines for decades.
The cellar master is long-time Etna guru Salvo Foti, who has a knack for making wines showing elegance and tension, while keeping the pristine volcanic spice and depth as the framework for all wines.
Aetneus is their old-vine rosso, and the flagship wine of the winery. The Nerello Mascalese (80%) and Nerello Capuccio (20%) are grown on a north-facing plot with fine volcanic sands, farmed Biodynamically, and enjoying a slightly cooler microclimate than the rest of the property.
We were pleasantly surprised when tasting 2016, as previous vintages of Aetneus have been quite dark and chewy - begging for even more time in the bottle. This release is the most elegant and accessible version of Aetneus’ spice and depth, with fine texture, more brilliant color and high pitched aromatics. Bruno Sant'Anna