91+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"Here's a new, food-friendly wine from one of my favorite under-the-radar estates in Sicily (actually, it is located on the satellite island of Lipari, to be exact). The 2017 Bianco Porticello is beautifully fragrant and pure. The wine's floral aromas jump from the glass, giving this wine a cheerful and buoyant personality. If you are a lover of crisp and tonic Italian whites, I absolutely recommend this excellent value wine. I just love it. The blend is 60% Carricante (aged in oak for extra structure and texture) and 40% Moscato (that rests in stainless steel to preserve its aromas). Some 20,000 bottles were made."
"60% Carricante, 40% Moscato from the island of Lipari on sandy volcanic soils at 350 m. Densely planted bush vines (9,000/ha). Direct pressing of grapes in pneumatic presses. No must clarification, only static settling at 16 °C. Carricante spends three months in 30-hectolitre barrels with stirring and on lees. The wine is decanted repeatedly to obtain natural clarification and then placed in bottles.
The aroma is an interesting mix of sour green fruits, grapefruit and a slightly grapey character (barely) plus an attractive stony quality. Crystal clear. Beautifully dry and refreshing, the texture so dry and fine it is almost chalky. Plenty of crunchy fresh citrus and green fruit and a mouth-watering finish and really salty. Sour-fresh persistence – it would be so easy to keep drinking this, especially on a hot day – either on its own or with plain fish dishes. 17/20 points. (JH)"
Vinous Reverie Notes
Jancis Robinson - Wine of the Week
"The Aeolian island of Lipari on the north coast of Sicily is probably most often associated with its tiny production of sweet passito wines made from dried Malvasia delle Lipari grapes but, as Walter pointed out in A fine, dry future for Malvasia delle Lipari?, these islands also produce dry wines, and not just from Malvasia.
Tenuta di Castellaro do make an excellent passito but it was this dry white, Porticello 2017 IGT Terre Sicilane, made from 60% Carricante and 40% Moscato, that won my heart and palate. And as soon as I saw the photos, Lipari and the Aeolian islands shot to the top of my holiday-island wish list.
Moscato often gives wine a grapey aroma and flavour but here the balance between the varieties is perfect, the Moscato adding a delicate grapey character and the Carricante (pictured here) bringing flavours of grapefruit, tangy green fruits, mouth-watering acidity and a fine chalky texture, which is probably as much to do with the vineyard location and its volcanic sandy soils as with the variety.
The wine has terrific persistence and intensity, even with the very modest alcohol of 12%, plus a slight saltiness in the aftertaste. Although the Carricante spends three months on its yeast lees in big oak casks (30 hl), there is no perceptible oak flavour, just a richer texture.
As Walter notes in his profile of the estate in Aeolian Malvasia through producers’ eyes, the estate was founded in 2006 by Massimo Lentsch, a businessman from Bergamo, and his wife Stefania Frattolio.
They are members of the I Vigneri (as signalled by the gnarled old vine embossed on the bottle), a winegrowers' guild that dates back to 1435 but was resurrected by Lentsch's consultant Salvo Foti, the defender of the faith when it comes to high-density bush vines planted in the traditional quincunx formation, which you can see in the photo of the modern winery and surrounding vines below.
They explain: ‘Each plant is located at the top of a 1.2-metre equilateral triangle. Aesthetically harmonious, with total exposure to all atmospheric events, ideal organic exploitation for a homogeneous amount of soil for each individual plant and root system forced to push towards the deepest part of the soil rich in minerals.’ Each vine is treated ‘as if it were an individual and the vineyard like a community’.
Tenuta di Castellaro also grow Malvasia and the reds Nero d'Avola and Corinto (see the mapped vineyards below), the last producing an unusual and deliciously light-boded red from a grape that is traditionally dried for currants (though I see Walter wasn't quite so taken with it when he tasted it late last year). Their Bianco Pomice, a blend of Malvasia and Carricante, is excellent, with just a touch more oak influence but still wonderful freshness (hard to find outside Italy)..."