Perhaps it’s a New World idea that one can adopt Old World traditions at will and make them work. If so, we’re glad Anna Martens is from the New World, an Aussie, who like other non-Sicilians (notably Belgian Frank Cornelissen, just down the road) has found the cinder-speckled vines of Mt. Etna to be congenial. In 2010 she and her husband Eric Narioo revived a palmento, a traditional gravity-fed Sicilian winery, where she makes scrupulously natural wines that are both traditional and innovative. Growing native varieties on Etna’s north side, where the altitude and exposition make for a lighter-bodied, lower-alcohol red, she tends old vines organically and by hand. Palmento, her flagship red, is made in the traditional method: grapes are foot-trodden and macerated over several days on the upper level of the winery, fermented in vat on the second level, and on a third level the wine is aged on its lees in a combination of stainless steel, large neutral barrels, and Georgian qvevri, ceramic aging vessels akin to amphorae. The result is an unfiltered, aromatic, ruby-red wine with a nose of roses and violets, red cherry and strawberry. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, with an undertone of Etnean smoke for depth, it shows red currant, strawberry, and red cherry fruit.
Pairing: Gooey Cheeses, Dried Meats
VARIETY: NERELLO MASCALESE, NERELLO CAPPUCCIO, ALICANTE
SPECIALTY: NATURAL, LITTLE OR NO SO2 USED
REGION: Mount Etna, Sicily, ITALY