This is a gorgeous, sumptuous, svelte, elegant, engaging, mineral, charming, fruit-forward, spice-laden masterpiece of Italian wine-making. Ripe sweet fruits, mulberry, black cherry and fruit peel with herbaceous balance and savouriness make it absolutely delicious; its medium-full body is perfectly dressed in some oak ageing, but as it's Gaja, you know it'll always be fantastically well-balanced.
It seems that Angelo Gaja can do no wrong.
Here is his most recent result of his exploration of Italy's vast potential; this time in Sicily. However, unlike his Tuscan venture, which was very much his own execution, he has teamed up with a stellar Sicilian winemaker, Alberto Graci.
The two men sourced and bought some of the best vines on the south-western side of Etna, many of which are over 100 years old. Planted at incredible altitudes between 630 and 820 metres above sea level, Gaja leaned on Graci's extensive knowledge of the two chief Sicilian protagonist grape varieties, Nerello Mascalese for the red and Carricante for the white. And that's all they do one wine from the red grapes and one from the white. They only make two wines.
Etna is the highest volcano in Europe and is the source of much Sicilian activity on a daily basis. To that extent Etna has its own nickname, which comes from the local dialect for the word "she", because they view Etna as a Mother-figure, kindly, but strict. As in: "She's going to blow", or: "she's in good form today, thank goodness" (meaning she's not going to do anything...). That word is Idda and that's the name of this project, because it takes from the energy of Etna and the unique vineyard qualities that come from its volcanic soils.
The project, too, has an energy about it that seems latent and about to break into a massive interest in high-end Sicilian wines, somewhat like a volcano. But scratch a little at the surface and Sicily has already a vibrant scene at the top, largely thanks to Graci himself! This then is Gaja lending some of his weight in return for a spare set of keys to the island's treasures, and in fairness, it seems that both parties will win equally. Global interest in top tier Sicilian wines will grow on account of Gaja's presence, and sitting at the top alongside the IDDA project is Graci. Well played. And as the wines are so excellent, no one can complain!
Grape(s): Nerello Mascalese
Style: Svelte, Smooth, Silky, Medium Full, Elegant, Complex, Bright, Balanced
Best food matches: Roasts, Pasta, Grills, Game, Fine Dining, Cheeses, Charcuterie