Passopisciaro, Etna, Sicilia
A palmento is the traditional winemaking structure in Sicily. Regulations eventually led nearly all palmentos to be converted for other uses, such as for storage or restaurants, but since Palmento Costanzo is located within Mt Etna National Park, it remained untouched as a protected historical structure. Mimmo and Valeria are a Sicilian couple whose devotion to the traditions of Mt Etna led them, starting in 2011, to lovingly restore the palmento as a functioning winemaking structure once more.
The palmento is far from the only ancient treasure on this site, with vines that are up to 120 years old! Bush-trained in the “alberello” style, each piede franco vine is supported by the traditional chestnut poles. The vines are arranged in the quinconze system, the Italian word for the pattern seen in the dots on the five side of a die. A sensible geometry for fitting vines into a narrow mountain terrace, the arrangement also lets each vine see sun all day, without being shaded by its sisters. Close spacing--a meter and a bit apart--causes enough competition to send roots down deep into the cool, mineral-rich earth below. This training system also reflects the historic proportional grape blends; for instance, red grapes are arranged with four Nerello Mascalese plants surrounding a central Nerello Cappuccio.
Palmento Costanzo is on the north side of Mount Etna, near the town of Passopisciaro. The town’s name means “to walk the sciara,” referring to the rocky volcanic substance that makes up the winery’s structures as well as the vineyards’ dry stone terraces. A certain number of years after an eruption, yellow flowers called “ginestra” are the first signs of life that show it will be time to plant the vines. An inspiration for the color of one of their wine labels, the ginestra are also an excellent symbol for the spirit of rejuvenation endemic to Mt. Etna--and defined by Valeria & Mimmo’s labor of love.
Latest wine scores in International Magazines:
2019 "Bianco di Sei" - 91 Wine Enthusiast
2019 "Contrada Cavaliere Bianco" - 91 Vinous
2016 "Contrada Santo Spirito" Etna DOC Rosso - Tre Bicchieri, 93 Wine Enthusiast, 92 Wine & Spirits, 93 Italian Wine Report
"Mofete Bianco" Etna DOC Bianco
"Mofete Rosato" Etna DOC Rosato
"Mofete Rosso" Etna DOC Rosso
"Bianco di Sei" Etna DOC Bianco
"Contrada Cavaliere Bianco" Etna DOC Bianco
"Nero di Sei" Etna DOC Rosso
"Contrado Santo Spirito" Etna DOC Rosso