Catarratto and Catarratto Acacia 2022 – Estano Originale.
Although the proven quality of wines made out of international grapes, we sometimes are surprised by the potential of indigenous less well-known grapes. In this review we will discuss two wines made from the Catarratto, one pure expression without barrel aging and a version with four months aging on Acacia wood barrels. These wines form the debut on the international wine market for the Dutch family Giesbers and their winery Estano Originale from Sicily.
About the Winery
Estano is located in Mazara del Vallo, a coastal village in western part of the Italian island Sicily, close to Marsala. Due to the fact the 81 years old landlady had no successors, the estate was taken over in 2022 by the Dutch family Giesbers. The estate owns about 13,5 hectares of land, of which 75% is planted with vines. The other part is planted with olive trees.
Where the formal landlady sold the grapes to big cooperation’s, the family Giesbers decided to take a different approach. They started to make their own wine. The wines in this review are vintage 2022, the year of the takeover. To give a sneak peek to our conclusions: we are impressed by the results so far, especially given the fact this is their first vintage. They targeted themselves to improve their wines every vintage, so we advise you to keep an eye on this winery.
About the Variety
All the wines of Estano Originale are made out of Catarratto. Although Catarratto is not very well known, it is the second most planted variety in Italy. As an indigenous Sicilian grape, it is hardy seen outside Sicily. Traditionally Catarratto namely is used for the production of Marsala, the fortified wine from the similarly named Sicilian region. Nowadays Catarratto also is used for the production of non-fortified dry wines. Although the production initially was focused on high quantity production, increasingly more winemakers are making quality wines out of Catarratto. Probably the best proof of the capacity of Catarratto is high quality Etna Bianco, often made out of (partly) Catarratto.
About the Vinification
As mentioned before, both of the wines are made out of Catarratto. Due to negligence of the vineyards the vines are deeply rooted, stimulating concentration of flavours. The grapes are manually picked. The ‘normal’ Estano Originale is fermented in stainless steel and has not undergo any barrel aging. The Estano Originale has aged a couple of months on barrels made out of Acacia wood. Compared to oak, acacia is known for a subtler wood aging expression.
About the Wines
Estano Originale Catarratto 2022
The bright citrus yellow wine does show lively aromas of fresh citrus, lemon, zest, pear, blossom, wet stone and herbs like tarragon and peppermint. The attack is dominated by zesty citrus flavours, whereas the midpalate is stimulating mineral and peppery. Linear acids lead towards a medium long herbaceous aftertaste. The Estano Originale Catarratto really is invigorating wine with an authentic soul. The wine is in some ways reminiscent of the Greek grape Assyrtiko and does give a pure expression of Catarratto.
Estano Originale Catarratto 2022 – Aged in acacia barrels
The profile of the in acacia barrels aged Catarratto is way different then the non-barrel aged Catarratto. The golden colour gives away exposure to oxygen. Although the fruit forward primary aromas have been replaced by more secondary aroma’s like honey and dried apricot, it is all in the right proportion. On the palate the mouthfeel has been softened, the structure has improved by the addition of wood related tannins and the fruit is more ripened and mature. The medium long aftertaste does express an interesting nutty bitterness.
Both of the wines are well made and do express their own profile. In our opinion it is hard to make a comparison. Both of the wines must be judged on their merits. It is a matter of taste preference which wine one would prefer. We loved the pure expression of Catarratto in the non-barrel aged Catarratto. In the acacia aged Catarratto we loved the increased structure and the well-balanced bitterness.
We award both wines with an identical 92 point DWA score. An excellent debut if you ask us!
This review is written by our own Hermen Jansen (@origine_wijnen). If you are interested in buying these wines you can contact Estano Originale directly, through their website or Instagram.
Taste date: June 2023
Score: 92/100 DWA Score
Website: Estano Originale