From Where the Lava Flows
Tickets to our next wine lunch will be as hot as the volcanic region the wines spring from. Tony Cox explores what the wines of Mt Etna in Sicily have to offer.
When you consider that one of the hottest spots in the world’s wine scene is Sicily’s Mount Etna, both figuratively and factually, it is exciting to have a lunch at Lucio’s where a member of the extended family that owns Vini Cali winery will be in attendance to talk about his family’s labours.
Sitting on the slopes of an active volcano on rich volcanic soils at an altitude of 550 metres above sea level, Vini Cali has been producing sustainably farmed, hand harvested wines from indigenous grape varietals for three generations. The key feature of Sicilian wines is their minerality a reflection of both the altitude and volcanic soils.
Mount Etna, or simply Etna, is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Italy’s island state of Sicily. It is located in the Metropolitan City of Catania, between the cities of Messina and Catania (birthplace to our very own John Caruso’s pappa) and near the better-known town of Taormina that rises abruptly to provide breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. It is one of the few active volcanoes in the world and regularly puts on a show.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet experienced Lucio’s – or if you went in the early days when they opened just before the Christmas crush and were then hit with staffing issues caused by the Omicron outbreak (like everyone else) – it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in what this riverside gem has to offer.
Lucio’s Marina has sweeping riverside views, a stunning fitout and the attention to food and wine that you would expect from the second generation of one of Sydney’s most-established dining venues, Lucio’s. Stepping up to the plate as restaurateur and manager is Lucio’s next generation, Matteo and Michela Galletto, children of renowned former Sydney restaurateurs Lucio and Sally Galletto, who now call Noosa home.
On show at Noosa’s newest Italian restaurant will be three wines: a white, a rose and a red. The varieties may be new to the palates of Noosa but the flavours will easily resonate.
The Fanciulla Etna Bianco is a blend of carricante (80%), cataratto (15%) and grillo (5%). Fermented in stainless steel tanks with no oak it is all about freshness with citrus notes ranging from lemon/lime notes through to sweeter orange nuances with herbal characters of aniseed and mint providing a cleansing impact at the back palate, minerality driving a long finish.
The Galatea Siciliane Rosato is 100% nerello mascalese which features red fruits, wild strawberries and a slight sour edge with a touch of grip and minerality on the finish.
The final wine to be shown is the Moro Etna Rosso which is a blend of nerello mascalese (90%) and nerello cappuccio (10%). You get the trademark red fruits, herbal notes and minerality with the nerello cappuccino adding colour, alcohol and slightly riper fruit notes.
Sicilian cuisine doesn’t get the exposure of many of the better-known regions such as Tuscany, Venezia and Lombardy but it should.
One of the key influences in Sicilian cuisine dates to the Arab occupation where citrus and raisins emerged as key ingredients with seafood also utilised in abundance.
With a Sicilian-inspired menu created by Lucio’s kitchen team under Head Chef Alejandro Soto, Friday 27 May looks certain to be a hot date for lovers of authentic Italian experiences.
**SOLD OUT** A TASTE OF ITALY
DATE: Friday 27 May 2022, 12 Noon
COST: $95 PER PERSON for three courses including matching wines
WHERE: Lucio’s Marina, 2 Parkyn Court, Tewantin