Azienda Agricola Alice Bonaccorsi Valcerasa Etna Bianco D.O.C. 2009 $33
Alice Bonaccorsi has been making wine at her Azienda Agricola (farm business) since 1996 when she started it with her father, Vincenzo. The vineyards are located on the southeastern slopes of the volcano Mt. Etna (lending its name to the geographic control in the D.O.C. - Italy's version of France's A.O.C. system, guaranteeing place and quality). The city where the Bonaccorsis work and live is called Piedimonte Etneo in the province of Catania. Geographically, they are almost to the southern-most tip of Calabria in mainland Italy.
Their vineyards lay between 500 and 850 meters in altitude on the volcano's slope. Most of the soil is volcanic or sand, both rich in iron, sulphur and manganese. This particular wine is grown on a single vineyard to the south producing a wine that is rich in texture from the southern Italian heat and the harsh soils.
Nowadays, Alice is joined by her husband, Rosario Pappalardo, who assists with the winemaking of this lovely Etna Bianco. The grape is Carricante, also known as Catanese Bianco, around since the 9th century and indigenous to Eastern Sicily, growing well at high altitudes and ripening late. It has a chalky mouth feel with aromatics of green apples and, specifically, this Valcerasa has a wonderful note of freshly baked bread crust and melons.
If in Sicily, you would drink it with grilled sardines, calamari or perhaps artichokes. I recommend it with:
Pantaleo Goat Sardegna, Italy $30 per pound
One of my favorite cheeses, period. Pantaleo is made in a cooperative on the Italian island of Sardegna. It is bright white with hints of yellow. You can smell the windswept mountains of the island in this cheese: notes of hay, lemon, and herbs dominate with a sweet white pepper taste. It pairs very well with white wines from all over Italy but especially well with the Valcerasa.
Something sweet...From Chef Julia Bona Dea Meyer Lemon Marmalade Petty Ranch, Santa Paula, CA $11
Sicilians and Sardinians alike love citrus, and Chef Julia's Lemon Marmalade pairs great with this cheese.
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