Wine with authentic Sicilian character
Altavilla della Corte
The Grillo grapes grown on the Borgo Guarini Estate fully convey the uniqueness of their terroir of origin. The hillside climate, with greater differences in temperature in comparison to areas on the coast, endows these grapes with a richer and more intense aromatic profile, consisting of thiols and aromatic precursors. It is a vine on the rise in Sicilian oenology, where it is usually cultivated near the coast. Firriato, however, has chosen to grow it on the hillside area of the Borgo Guarini Estate. This area is characterised by a microclimate that is subject to a marked difference in temperature, which together with the action of the wind, allows them to obtain wines with a vast aromatic spectrum during the wine making process. These wines are fresher in comparison to wines produced from Grillo grapes cultivated on the coast.
The Grillo grapes grown on the Borgo Guarini Estate fully convey the uniqueness of their terroir of origin. The hillside climate, with greater differences in temperature in comparison to areas on the coast, endows these grapes with a richer and more intense aromatic profile, consisting of thiols and aromatic precursors.
- Appellation: DOC Sicilia
- Vine: Grillo
- Terroir: hilly
- Soil: Calcareous soil, mostly clayey
- Exposure: south – west(250 mt. a.s.l.)
Grillo grapes are grown by Firriato on the hillside area of the Borgo Guarini Estate. The unique soil and climate conditions of this terroir favour the complete aromatic development of this native vine variety.
Altavilla della Corte Grillo
The Uniqueness of a Hillside Grillo
Grillo’s destiny is tied to a noble purpose, to replace vines left terribly devastated by phylloxera attacks in the Marsala area. It is here that it grows producing magnificent fruit, in an area where, in just a short time, it has gained widespread use and appreciation. It is impossible to talk of Sicily without mentioning the wines that make it so welcoming, enticing and perfect. And of these wines, the one which surely stands out is Grillo, a credit to and a gift from this sun-kissed land of unparalleled charm. Grillo is one of most cultivated native white grape vine varieties on the island, in particular on the west coast. The historical motivations behind its spread are linked to the production of Marsala, where it constitutes the main ingredient of that well-known fortified wine in a blend with other vine varieties.
ALTAVILLA DELLA CORTE GRILLO
The characteristics of vintages
In the Trapani countryside, the 2020 grape harvest was generally affected by a variable climatic trend compared to 2019. Actually temperatures above the seasonal average – in particular between the months of January and February – and a certain drought from May to late September, influenced a lot of vine life cycle. These conditions slightly anticipated the budding phase, by reducing vine development and growth in the matter of foliage until flowering with a lower production yield (about 30%) – for white grape varieties in particular – in favor of quality: a of the best in recent years.
Vintage 2019 was generally affected by the colder and rainier climatic trend compared to the averages of recent years. Temperatures were below the seasonal average during the flowering period and favorable climatic conditions were also recorded during ripening. The vegetative development of the plants was optimal, with perfectly functioning foliage, and a reduction in the average weight of the bunch which favored an increase in the average quality.
After a winter and a spring with abundant rainfall, summer did not make the thermometers soar and the sugar level was lower than in 2017. September recorded a slight increase in moisture and minimum temperatures compared to last year, but without ever causing particular phytosanitary problems. At the beginning of the third part of the same month there were copious rains (on the 21st and the 22nd) that slowed down the harvest, but fortunately without compromising the health of the grapes.
Mild winter with appropriate moderate rainfalls and mild spring eased the regular vegetative process of the vines. Fortunately the lacking of precipitations over the springtime and the heat wave of the first part of June did not make plants undergo water stress. Among July and August temperature reached very high level compared to typical seasonal average. Although this heat wave, the temperature fluctuations eased a good aromatic maturation of the grapes that had been harvested almost a week before but with a drop of production by 25%.The hilly Grillo vine succed a lot in the Borgo Guarini Estate compared to the same vine growing in other parts of Sicily. The high quality of these Grillo grapes growing on the hill depends on the suitable climate and soil conditions belonging to the complex and particular characteriscics of the Borgo Guarini estate.
The summer season 2016 has been characterised by mild cimate, few rainfalls without excessive heat. After a winter characterised by few rainfalls, spring season began with cool temperatures lasted over flowering until the months of May and June when spring concluded with some rainfalls. These climatic conditions fostered a great vine life-cycle in the vineyard. Compared to grape harvest 2015,estimates suggested a reduction by 40% in rainfalls over the winter period, although around 80-90 ml of water have been recorded over the rainfalls in May.
Very complex in terms of weather, the heat and rain Fall 2014 resulted in the appearance of a significantly reduced spontaneous sward and characterized by the presence of species microthermal (those that adapt and grow at low temperatures). In late they turn out to be the most wild and cultivated plants seed. The start of winter was cold, with the strong reduction of sporigen due to the Spring 2014 greatly damp. This has lowered the microbial load start and a reduced ability of virulent pathogens in the early stages of their development (April).
It was an unforgettable vintage thanks largely to an almost uniform and very balanced climate, the spring was rightly rainy with cool summer which favoured ripening slow and gradual. There is talk of “a summer without Scirocco wind”, July is spent without excessive heat. Parallel there were recorded temperature day/night very marked in all Firriato’s estates which helped the development of aromas and flavours. Therefore the best conditions that have led to “a slow maturation and perfectly balanced of the fruit”.
The year showed to be fruitful. Either regarding the quantity, and definitely regarding the quality “very interesting wines regarding the aromatic profile” had been obtained. Because of the climate, the harvest lasted till the last week of September. The year 2013 gave a slower harvest and then a gradual maturation.
Harvest time: August 19th
The manual harvest of the Grillo grapes began at Borgo Guarini at the end of August and beginning of September, when they reached full ripeness thanks to the favourable soil and climate conditions. 2012 saw a winter that was not too harsh, with scarce rainfall, a humid spring and a muggy and sunny summer. The slightly warmer weather trend of the previous years and the significant differences in temperature between day and night produced juicy, aromatic fruit that was then pressed using the soft pressing method in the absence of oxygen. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel vessels; it was bottled at the end of January and aged in the bottle for about two months before being made available for sale.
ALTAVILLA DELLA CORTE GRILLO
Wine Spectator: 89 pts
James Suckling: 92 pts
Falstaff: 93 pts
Meiningers Weinwelt: 91 pts
James Suckling: 90 pts
Wine Enthusiast: 89 pts
Wine Spectator: 87 pts
James Suckling: 88 pts
Luigi Veronelli: 2 Red Stars
Gambero Rosso: 2 black glasses
Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani: 88 pts.
Bibenda: 3 clusters
Gambero Rosso: 2 black glasses
Bibenda: 3 clusters
Berebenelowcost – Gambero Rosso:quality-price ratio award
Start by cleaning the calamari: rinse them under running water, remove the head (cut eyes and mouth off) and the tentacles and keep them aside, remove the pen of the internal cartilage and the insides. Then peel the skin off with your hands or a small knife.