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blog swirl & savor

From the Etna2

Beth Ribblett

After way too many hours of flying and terrible airplane food, we
arrived at our first agriturismo on the northeast slope of the
volcano, the beautiful Scilio. The terrain and vegetation here are
similar to that of southern California with undulating sepia toned
foothills, dotted with cactus, palm trees, oleander and scrubby
bushes. However the most remarkable and dramatic feature is the
abundance and use of black lava rock. Not only does it create dramatic
rock formations but it is also one of the primary building materials
for local structures, terrace and retaining wall and even roads
circling the Etna. And of course it is what makes the wines of the
region so interesting, unusual and amazing!

I woke early after a belly-filling evening of delicious local wines
and foods from the farm and decided to investigate the property. The
black lava soils line the paths and roads which weaved through the
vineyards and olive orchards eventually leading me to the Catina where
the wines are produced. Lucky for me I met a little companion cenino
who accompanied me during the rest of my walk (don't tell Sangi!).

The estate has been in the family now for five generations and the
current owners, Salvatore and Elisabeth remember that electricity was
a luxury that they didn't receive until the late 1960's!! The property
was just recently renovated and the colorful stucco and lava rock
buildings are in perfect harmony with the surroundings and the view of
the Etna from anywhere on the property is breathtaking!

Time for a quick shower and breakfast before we head up to the
vineyards of to meet Vincenzo at the vineyards of Passopisciaro!