Hidden in the chaos, you can find moments of complete beauty and pleasure.
Cantina Benanti is located in Viagrande on the steep slopes of Mt. Etna. Owned by the Benanti family, wine production began in the 1800's on an old family farm. In 1988, highly devoted to viticulture, Giuseppe Beanti revived the family's passion with an extensive and selective study of the Etnean soils.
In the 5 year study, he investigated the earth and soil as well as particular clones of indigenous vines and new oenological techniques to reproduce ancient fragrances using the most modern practices of vinification. In a perfect union of history and reality, wines of unique taste were produced recreating old flavors and keeping them intact over time. Bennati wines have a strong personality, unique taste, and carry with them a culture, respect, and passion.
Our friend Marcello introduced us to the opportunity to visit Benanti and set it all up. We were immediately introduced to Valentina who directed us to the slopes. We walked the path and met Antonio Benanti (one of two sons) with guests; a local chef and an aspiring wine Sommelier from Canada.
Antonio spoke of the soil, and the unique qualities imparted into it by the active volcano we were standing on, Mt. Etna. He showed us the young vines and the 120 year old vines.
Olive trees, almonds, and fresh flowers were amongst the vines on the terraced hillside.
Antonia expressed that they are farmers first; Agricultural Scientists if you will.
We left the slopes to delve into the production of this gorgeous Sicilian wine...
We were introduced to the ancient press, a palmetto (one of the largest in Sicily!). Antonio reviewed the ancient process of wine making that included stomping the grapes, gravity, and impressive ingenuity for the time. The history and stories that followed was like a novel being played out in front of us.
The walls of the Cantina were adorned with magnificent paintings; some of which are depicted as labels on Benanti wines. The place feels like a boutique; an artisanal of family history, local culture, and prestige. Antonio actually describes their desire to maintain the atmosphere as such.
We meet Giuseppe (the father) and begin our wine tasting. Unlike any tasting you've ever experienced, Antonio thoroughly explores each wine which we find are raw yet bursting with flavor. Bennati's wines are unique and not made for the mass, but for the few that will find pleasure and luxury in them. We enjoyed a fine selection of 3 types of grapes, Carricante, Cappuccio, and Mascalese, experiencing a vertical tasting.
We are grateful to Marcello for the opportunity and impressed by the work the family has put into this beautiful gem. We felt like we had a unique and personal experience; we left feeling like we gained new friends. Thank you for a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we will see you all again soon!! Bellissimo!!